Over the weekend the Evolution Championship Series, EVO, announced on Twitter that Super Smash Bros. will not be featured at this year’s event. Speculation and finger pointing has already begun in order to figure out the reasons why. Nintendo has obviously been the prime suspect considering that the popular fighting game is their Intellectual Property. This focus on Nintendo is certainly due to EVO’s tweet stating that, “Nintendo has chosen”, to remove the game.
— EVO (@EVO) February 26, 2022
The Esports fighting game tournament did have an issue with Nintendo back in 2013 over streaming Super Smash Bros. matches. Another signpost pointing towards Nintendo is their partnership with Panda Global that got declared in November of last year. The tag team plans to, “launch the first officially licensed Super Smash Bros. championship circuit in North America”, this year. With this championship circuit including both Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Super Smash Bros. Melee, it does not seem to leave much room for the Evolution Championship Series.
Nevertheless, Nintendo aside, the absence of Super Smash Bros could be partially due to Sony Interactive Enterntainment (SIE) and RTS acquring EVO last March. The VP of Global Competitive Gaming, Steven Roberts, took to Sony’s blog to breakdown the acquisition. Sony absorbing EVO may make it seem as if there is no space for non-Sony titles at the tournament. On the contrary, EVO’s director of global business development stated that they are in fact, “still open to all platforms“, in a tweet last year.
According to VGC, “Since 2014, one or more Super Smash Bros. games has been included as part of the event each year”. Super Smash Bros. Melee first debuted at EVO in 2007. To get a better idea of how the games have impacted EVO along with players and fans, watch Nintendo’s video from 2018.
Over the years several fighting games have been featured at the tournament including: Tekken, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Marvel vs Capcom, SoulCaliber, and Pokkén Tournament. With no games determined for 2022’s tournament yet according to Gamespot, make sure you tune into EVO’s livestream to get ready for the event later this Fall.