EVOLUTION CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES or ‘EVO’ began as a small event called Battle of the Bay over 20 years ago and since branching into more games and upgrading locations over the years, it has slowly become the granddaddy of all fighting game events. Now it stands tall as the ultimate arena for the Fighting Game Community. A place where players can show the world what they are made of and for the community to experience the biggest worldwide event within the community.
Multiple iconic and memorable events stem from this franchise and this year’s EVO will be no different. Already boasting impressive numbers and a monster lineup of fighting games, exciting tension is rapidly building up around EVO; where the best of the best will duke it out to see who is number one.
Regarding viewership, previous EVO stream figures have broken records for the most viewed fighting game event of all time. In 2015 across three days and across multiple games and streams, the total number of views for that weekend totalled around 18,854,340, which was a 113% increase from the previous year.
Then just last year, only the Street Fighter V Finals played on one just day at the Mandalay Bay Arena garnered almost 5 million viewers. It seems that even HBO’s Game Of Thrones Season 7 Premiere being televised alongside the fighting game spectacle didn’t stop EVO 2017 shattering FGC event records, making the feat even more impressive.
Thousands of players from across the globe all meet up at EVO in Las Vegas to witness the greatest competitive spectacle in the FGC but also to socialise, network, be part of side events, join casual sessions, showcase new and upcoming as well as old and rare games, advertise gaming merchandise including figures, peripherals, streaming equipment, clothing and more. This year is set to be bigger and better than its predecessor with an impressive increase in tournament attendees. One of the Pre-EVO announcements that everyone looks forward to is the game lineup and for this year, here is what was chosen:
- Street Fighter 5 Arcade Edition
- Tekken 7
- Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
- Super Smash Bros. Melee
- BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle
- Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2
- Injustice 2
- Dragon Ball FighterZ
Taking place between August 3-5 at the Mandalay Bay Resort. Thousands of competitors will be competing with each other to see who will be crowned champion for Evolution Championship Series 2018. Here are the number of attendees for each respective game.
|Game||Entrants (2018)||Entrants (2017)|
|Dragon Ball FighterZ||2,575||N/A|
|Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition||2,484||2,622|
|Super Smash Bros Wii U||1,354||1,515|
|Super Smash Bros for Melee||1,351||1,435|
|BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle||1,178||N/A|
|GG Xrd: Rev 2||629||827|
Each of these games have had a small drop in terms of players attending apart from Tekken which has actually gained around 250 participants. Despite this the overall amount of players has increased because of Dragon Ball FighterZ pulling in over 2,500 entrants in its first EVO attendees can compete in. BlazBlue: CTB has also bumped up the numbers by over 1,100 in a similar fashion. A possible reason for the decrease across most other games is because that there are two new games in this year’s lineup and competitors might have decided to opt for Dragon Ball FighterZ or BlazBlue: CTB instead of participating in one of the usual suspects. The total number of player entrants this year is 11,185, which is up from 10,082 last year.
There are some changes to this years EVO. Most significantly, three players will emerge from each pool bracket instead of four. This is to negate any double jeopardy situations. In other words we will see two competitors from the losers side and one competitor in the winners advance to the later stage of the tournament for each game.
If you are interested in watching the finals where the FGC masterminds will square off, here are the times for each game:
Evo 2018 Finals Schedule—Sunday, Aug. 5
8 a.m. PT: Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2
10:30 a.m. PT: Super Smash Bros. Melee
1:30 p.m. PT: Tekken 7
4 p.m. PT: DragonBall FighterZ
7:30 p.m. PT: Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition
Both of the qualifying days and Sunday’s finals are open to spectators and the finals is a ticketed event held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. EVO has become a significant event for esports, with 12,000 people attending last year’s tournament and hundreds of thousands of dollars given out in prize money.
I will be there competing myself and also documenting the event through ESL FGC Twitter, ESL Street Fighter and the various ESL Fighting game pages as well as my own Twitter. Be sure not to miss any of the action going down this weekend at EVO 2018.