Sony acquires world’s largest fighting-game tourney series

A video game plays on giant screens over a packed arena.

Enlarge / Street Fighter V‘s top-eight world finals tournament at EVO 2017, held at the Mandalay Bay casino arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Ars Technica)

When it comes to acquisitions in the gaming industry, headlines usually revolve around big-ticket video games or backend software. Some news from Sony on Wednesday saw a major acquisition come in a much different form: the EVO gaming tournament series.

When it comes to fighting-game tournaments, none has proven larger or more long-lasting than EVO, which grew from a grassroots community effort in the ’90s to a formal physical-event series in 2002. It expanded to include a Japanese variant, EVO Japan, in 2018, and it hosted over 14,000 players in 2019 to compete for a prize pool of over $200,000.

However, after its 2020 tournaments were transformed into an online-only, pandemic-era series, EVO co-founder Joey Cuellar was accused of sexual assaulting minors—and he confirmed the allegations in a public statement (since removed from Twitter). Shortly afterward, EVO removed Cuellar from all operational duties and canceled its EVO 2020 plans.

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