Sony Interactive Entertainment has acquired the Evolution Championship Series (Evo) brand. Additionally, Evo 2021 will run as an online event from Aug. 6 to 8 and 13 to 15, the company announced today.
This news comes after Evo 2020 was canceled following accusations of sexual harassment and pedophilia made against former president Joey “Mr. Wizard” Cuellar last June.
This acquisition was made by SIE and RTS, a new venture born out of the esports sector of Endeavor Group Holdings, an entertainment-focused business that leads a group that owns the Ultimate Fighting Championship and several other major brands.
Evo co-founders Tom and Tony Cannon will remain closely involved in an advisory role moving forward.
“Fighting games have been a vital part of PlayStation’s legacy and our community since the very beginning, and we’ve been thrilled to partner with Evo over the years,” Steven Roberts, VP of global competitive gaming at SIE said. “This joint acquisition with RTS marks a new chapter of collaboration with Evo’s co-founders, Tom and Tony Cannon, and their passionate community of fighting game fans.”
Evo was previously owned by Triple Perfect, Inc. prior to this acquisition.
In a message released by the Evo team, this deal was made in part to help revitalize the brand and make sure it does right by the community with the help of experienced partners.
“In order to deliver on the trust you have all put in Evo, we realize that we need an experienced strategic partner who truly respects the spirit of the FGC,” the statement said. “This is why we’re excited to announce that Evo has become part of the joint partnership of Sony Interactive Entertainment and RTS. The new partnership is committed to bringing amazing tournaments and competitive gaming experiences back to you this year and beyond.”
With this deal, Sony welcomes Evo to the PlayStation family and will help run the online event in August, featuring Guilty Gear Strive, Mortal Kombat 11, Street Fighter V, and Tekken 7.
Fighting game community (FGC) figure and Evo head of business development Mark Julio noted that this deal will not hinder Evo’s ability to support the entire FGC, meaning it’s likely that games that aren’t playable on PlayStation will still be featured at future events.
“Tom and I are incredibly excited by the partnership with SIE and RTS,” Tony Cannon, co-founder of Evo said. “Both companies bring a wealth of experience and share our passion for what makes the fighting game community so great. We are looking forward to working with them to launch Evo to the next level while remaining true to our roots.”
More details about Evo 2021 Online will be shared in the coming weeks, including information on qualifier signups.
Update March 18 5:30pm CT: Following the deal, Nintendo released an official statement regarding its potential involvement in future Evo competitions.
“Nintendo has enjoyed engaging with fans at past Evo tournaments and wish the show organizers the best with their new venture,” a Nintendo spokesperson said via IGN. “We will continue to assess Evo, and other opportunities, as we plan for future online and offline Super Smash Bros. tournament activity.”
As expected, neither Sony nor Nintendo are definitely closing the proverbial door on collaborations revolving around FGC competition at the moment. This statement does point to Smash Ultimate not being a featured title at Evo Online 2021 if the initial lineup does expand, however.