The world’s biggest fighting game tournament is back and this time they’re bigger than ever. Yesterday Mr. Wizard, long time FGC tournament organizer, announced that EVO (the Evolution Championship Series) would once again be making a return in 2017. EVO is the world’s largest fighting game tournament taking place every year in Las Vegas. Next year the FGC (Fighting Game Community) will take over the Mandalay Bay Cente in Las Vegas for all three days of EVO’s run.
This is super exciting for fighting game enthusiasts. It’s a sign that the fighting game community is moving closer and closer to the conventional eSports scene. The Mandalay Bay Center is Las Vegas’ premiere event center, hosting the most lucrative fights in boxing and the UFC. Certainly, a fitting legacy for fighting games to adopt.
Evo will be at Mandalay Bay all 3 days! #Evo2017
— Joey Cuellar (@MrWiz) November 16, 2016
EVO will be taking place from July 14-16 of next year.
Growing with eSports
This is a huge step forward for FGC fans, as most large events are still held in relatively small locations. In EVO’s long and tenured history as the world’s largest fighting game tournament, it has only recently moved out of hotel ballrooms. EVO Championship Series has been running since 1996 every year and has slowly been increasing its scope. Conventional eSports such as League of Legends, DOTA, and Counter Strike have long occupied large stadiums and huge crowds for their events. EVO started relatively small but has expanded. 2016 alone had entrants being in the 15,000’s and attendance reaching far beyond that. EVO is attempting to grow alongside them, bringing the FGC along.
Last year EVO hosted their finals in the location bringing massive hype and an atmosphere that even garnered the attention of traditional sports media. ESPN highlighted the event and even noted player L.I. Joe as their sports player of the month. Mr. Wizard capped off his announcement with the reveal of the EVO 2017 Trailer.
A Big Move
The FGC has long been a bit underground in the eSports scene. They have created some of the most amazing feats in gaming, and are some of the most passionate gamers.
A large part of their relatively small growth is the FGC’s lack of mainstream support. The FGC has been growing slowly for the better part of 20 years off the back of its community members alone. With the arrival of the Capcom Pro Tour and official sponsors like Red Bull, the FGC is surely on the path to mainstream success. The Mandalay Bay Center finally gives the FGC the premier platform that they, and sponsors and advertisers, deserve. Hopefully drawing their interests and their money to the scene will help it grow even more.
As usual it’s unclear what games will be featured in the event as well as the tournament’s format. Street Fighter V is an obvious choice but any other games are a bit up in the air. There is still the Capcom Cup which comes later this year on Dec. 13, and other tournaments that will follow. We will keep watching as we build anticipation for next July.