Sony Interactive Entertainment has announced that they, alongside esports venture RTS, have acquired Evolution Championship Series, alongside its parent company Shoryuken. Evo co-founders Tom Cannon and Tony Cannon will still be involved in an advisory capacity. RTS is an esports venture helmed by CEO Stuart Saw, and whose investors include sports marketing company Endeavor.
Prior to this announcement, speculation had been abound about the fate of the tournament series, as Evo Online 2020 had been called off following allegations of sexual misconduct against Evo co-founder and head organizer Joey "Mr. Wizard" Cuellar, who was removed from his leadership role within the organization. Many expected that, following these allegations, Tom and Tony Cannon would have simply opted to rebrand the tournament series, so this announcement came as a surprise to many.
Sony and RTS have also announced that they will be holding an online iteration of Evo this year, with a lineup of four titles: Tekken 7, Street Fighter V: Championship Edition, Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate and Guilty Gear Strive. This lineup has spawned some apprehension from members of the fighting game community, as both Tekken 7 and Street Fighter V are known for having major problems with their netcode. Tekken 7 continues to use a variable delay-based netcode solution, despite also including rollback functionality, and while Street Fighter V has rollback netcode, it has a major bug that has persisted since launch that has made online play inconsistent, especially in long-distance connections.
Despite being partially owned by a major console manufacturer, it seems that Evo will still host games across multiple platforms. Evo business developer Mark "MarkMan" Julio has confirmed that the PC version of Tekken 7 will be used for Evo 2021 Online, rather than the PS4 version, and crossplay between players on different platforms will be allowed for both Street Fighter V and Mortal Kombat 11.
Evo is open to all platforms still. We are running TEKKEN 7 on PC and allowing PC (crossplay) for other titles.— Mark Julio (マークマン) (@MarkMan23) March 18, 2021
In response to questions about what this means for Smash's future at Evo, Nintendo has also released a statement to IGN, which states "Nintendo has enjoyed engaging with fans at past Evo tournaments and wish to show the organizers the best with their new venture. We will continue to assess Evo, and other opportunities, as we plan for future online and offline Super Smash Bros. tournament activity."
At the time of writing, the front page of the Shoryuken website has been replaced with a message asking visitors to visit Evo's new website, evo.gg, and stating that the Shoryuken website has temporarily been taken down while its staff works with Sony and RTS to determine what this acquisition will mean for the future of the site. The Shoryuken Wiki is still available, as Shib, the wiki's current administrator, had taken over hosting duties in late 2020. It is currently unknown whether the wiki will be affected by this acquisition.