Evo 2020 cancelled as live show, switches to online event

Steven Rondina • May 2, 06:12

The largest fighting game tournament of the year will not have a live component, but will still go on in some form. 

Evo 2020 is the latest esports event to fall victim to the ongoing global situation. The news was announced on Twitter.

“…We are sadly cancelling Evo 2020 at Mandalay Bay…the health and wellbeing of our community is our highest priority. We hope everyone stays safe during this time,” the statement said.

All ticket holders and hotel reservations made will be refunded automatically.

Evo 2020 was previously scheduled to run from July 31 to August 2. It was set to feature a slew of tournaments, with the following eight titles as the main games:

  • Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late[cl-r]
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  • Dragon Ball FighterZ
  • Tekken 7
  • Soul Calibur VI
  • Street Fighter V Champion Edition
  • Samurai Shodown
  • Granblue Fantasy Versus
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 2

Evo has been an annual staple of the fighting game scene since 2002 and has hosted tournaments for games ranging from Street Fighter 2 to Mortal Kombat 11. This will be the first time Evo will take place without a live audience.

Evo 2020 to feature online tournaments

Though Evo 2020 won’t have a live crowd, that doesn’t mean there won’t be a big fighting game tournament to look forward to this year. Evo stated that it is looking to bring the event online. Beyond that, exactly what form Evo 2020 will take remains unknown.

Evo has prided itself on being an entirely open event for competitors, with thousands of attendees flocking to Las Vegas, Nevada each year in hopes of making it to the main stage.

Though an open format is normally doable, it prevents a slew of challenges. Events in Street Fighter and Smash Bros. have boasted well over a thousand competitors, something that would be difficult to efficiently organize in an online setting. 

Far more troublesome would be dealing with netcode issues. Playing fighting games online has always been a very different experience from playing face-to-face. Even under optimal conditions, this would be less than ideal. For games with spotty netcode such as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, competing online with real stakes is almost impossible. This also goes for games with global player bases, such as Street Fighter V and Tekken 7.

Switching to a series of regional events or to an invitational format are both possibilities. Fans and players will hope to see definitive answers come in the near future.

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