It’s still many months away but for the time being, EVO 2020 is still planning to go down on the weekend of July 31st through August 2nd.
The famed fighting game tournament series is monitoring the situation, but has made an announcement to keep moving forward despite the cancellation of multiple esports tournaments around the world and the suspension of major sports leagues such as the NBA and the NHL due to the spread of the coronavirus. In their official statement, EVO staff have said that they are keeping themselves updated with appropriate information from necessary agencies, and that cancellation is still very much on the table should the situation worsen.
In the event that EVO 2020 is cancelled, all tickets for the event will be refunded.
Gatherings over 50 people have been discouraged in many places, if not outright prohibited by law, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 has resulted in many major video game tournaments being postponed or downright cancelled, which has led to major financial losses for more grassroots scenes such as the Super Smash Bros. community.
The EVO announcement has been met with a mixed reception by people in the fighting game community, with some feeling like the company running the event is putting profit and business above the safety of its attendees. Others have pointed out that with EVO still being over four months away, the situation with coronavirus could change or evolve, and that a hard decision doesn’t have to be made right away.
EVO’s reputation and resources means that while they could take a hit if forced to cancel, they will be fine to return the following year. Many tournaments that have been cancelled are likely to take huge financial losses, especially if the tournaments were set to happen soon, due to many orders and payments that will have been made which are non-refundable.
To combat this, smash.gg set up a page where members of the fighting game community can contribute whatever they feel they can, and these funds will be distributed to tournament organizers to help offset the losses experienced from COVID-19. It’s not just limited to major events either; smaller tournament organizers can submit their cancelled events and if accepted, will have their event added as an option to benefit from this community relief fund.
For the foreseeable future, online tournaments will become more and more prevalent in competitive gaming scenes, with notable figures such as Armada and MoistCr1tikal already hosting their own tournaments, and Panda Global announcing an online tournament series. While online play is generally taken less seriously due to faulty netcodes in video games, anything will suffice in this drought of competitive play.
It’s refreshing to see the various ways the competitive community can come together and tackle the issues that have arised as a result of the coronavirus. Here’s hoping that things turn around quickly so that EVO can serve as a fitting return to the offline scene.