Evo, the annual Sony-owned fighting game tournament, will not host Nintendo’s biggest brawler in 2022. In an announcement on Twitter, the esports organization said Super Smash Bros. will not return to the Las Vegas convention this year—a decision it attributes to Nintendo.
Perhaps the writing has been on the walls for the last couple of years, but today Evo organizers confirmed Super Smash Bros. would not take the stage at this year’s event. The statement shared the Evo 2022 announcement show would begin on Twitch March 8 at 5 pm PST, but went on to set expectations, adding “Super Smash Bros. will not be making a return appearance.” While short and concise, the organization did sort of, kind of, point the finger at Mario in the end.
“Since 2007, we’ve seen historic Super Smash Bros. moments created at Evo’s events,” read the statement from an Evo spokesperson. “We are saddened that Nintendo has chosen not to continue that legacy with us this year. In the future, we hope to once again celebrate the Super Smash Bros. community alongside them. ”
— EVO (@EVO) February 26, 2022
In retrospect, it’s a bit clearer how we’ve wound up here. For a games industry hell brief, Sony acquired Evo with esports consulting agency RTS back in March of 2021 but suggested it would still welcome all platforms. Before its purchase, Evo canceled its in-person activities for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There were plans for an online tournament, but the organization’s co-founder, Joey Cuellar, was accused of sexually harassing minors, and multiple fighting game companies withdrew. Evo canceled 2020 altogether, and Cuellar was removed from his position.
Later in June 2021, Evo hosted a series of online community events with PlayStation front and center. Later in November, Nintendo announced it was partnering with Panda Global to host an official Super Smash Bros. championship circuit in North America, and that was our last big sign on the state of Smash and Evo. Now we’re here, where fans of Sony and Nintendo are busy blaming each other—because of brand loyalty and whatnot—and it looks like we’re in a good ole fashioned race to the bottom.
It does feel like a steady decline, and I never had much confidence things would remain the same after Sony bought Evo. A split with Nintendo, a company known for its completely rational and logical approach to everything (and has always been totally normal about Smash events), was bound to happen, but it’s a bummer for the community folks who do make that part of the FGC special and lose here. While Evo’s message sounds hopeful for future plans, I still can’t help but feel like this is a more definitive wrap. Perhaps 2023 says something different.