Three Japanese companies are making a big bet on fighting game esports.
A trio of Japanese companies announced the formation of Evo Japan, LLC on Wednesday. The corporation was created to organize a spinoff of the world's largest fighting game tournament, the Evolution Championship Series (Evo).
The three companies combined to invest 100,000,000 yen, (approximately $1 million) into the new corporation. Film and anime producer Shochiku Broadcasting Co. put forth 45 percent of the funding. Hearts United Group, owners of 4Gamer.net, put up another 45 percent. That group's parent company, Aetas, provided the remaining 10 percent.
The new LLC will partner with SRKX Productions, who operate Evo , to run the Japanese event. The exact nature of that partnership was not announced on Wednesday.
Details about Evo Japan were scarce when the event was announced at Evo 2016 in mid-July. Mark Julio, who is in charge of Evo's global business development, said during the initial announcement—and confirmed on Wednesday in a tweet—that more details would be announced at this month's Tokyo Game Show.
This venture marks the second time that Evo organizers have attempted to expand the popular fighting game tournament into Japan. Organizers first announced a Japanese edition of Evo in 2010, but plans were cancelled shortly after Japan was hit by a devastating earthquake in March 2011.
At least one Japanese player has won an Evo championship every year since 2001, when the event was called the B5 championship. The series became known as Evo a year later. This year’s event produced two Japanese champions: Pokken Tournament winner Abe "Tonosama" Hisharu and Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator champion Tominaga “Machabo” Masahiro.