Evo’s GM is hosting an event he’d like to attend
Evo, the short name for the prestigious Evolution Championship Series fighting game tournament, will once again be an in-person event for the first time since 2019. Evo was just one of many events that had to do things differently due to COVID-19, and even if the next Evo will be in a convention center again, says general manager Rick Thiher The edge that things are just different now.
“The market is not the same as when we took a break in regards to COVID,” Thiher said. “With COVID not really being completely over at the moment, this hiatus has created new concerns, new needs and has really restructured expectations for both the workforce and even tournament organizers endemic with that we work to help bring Evo together.”
There are a lot of challenges ahead for this year’s event, according to Thiher. Potential attendees aren’t coming to events regularly because of the pandemic, so they might not be planning this one. The costs of organizing an event have increased. And a lot of the people who help put the show on have moved on to things like other jobs and starting families, or just got out of the practice of helping with Evo every year.
For gamers, it’s about making sure the Evo experience lives up to nostalgia and expectations. “What we’re trying to do is make sure that Evo delivers everything that was important and loved about the experience in 2018 and 2019 and pivots in any way necessary to make sure that nostalgia and expectation future actually land,” says Thiher. This means focusing on some of the smaller details like adding lounges for attendees and hosting community tournaments for games that may not be included in the main event lineup.
“I think all of these little tangible ways to discover and renew the fandom are part of why you go to a convention. If you’re going to participate in something you love, part of what you’re doing there is reaffirming that love. We’re really trying to dig into that.
It’s been a turbulent few years for Evo. An online-only event was planned for 2020, but it was canceled after sexual assault allegations were made against Evo’s co-founder and president. In 2021, the event was acquired by Sony and RTS, an Endeavor venture, in what the groups called “a joint venture esports partnership”, and an online-only event took place. over two weekends in August.
Despite the company’s new ownership, Thiher is committed to creating an event that still feels like something that represents what the fighting game community wants. “I sit in a room and say yes and say no and see myself as an active member of the community that we’re building the show for. If I can’t leave this room feeling like we’re building a show that I would like to attend or be part of it, I know we missed the mark and I don’t want to be part of it.
Evo will take place August 5-7 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. You can find out everything that’s happening at the show on the Evo website, and this week the event organizers announced a special treat for attendees: they’ll get the chance to play the highly anticipated Street Fighter 6 on the stands of Capcom and Sony.