EVO Japan was meant to help rev up the competitive gaming scene in Japan. Investments into e-gaming in Japan are nowhere near as high as in the United States and Europe. If the debut tournament from Hearts United Group’s EVO events was any indicator, it still may be lacking interest.
EVO Japan was a huge hit with over 7,000 entrants but sponsorship income was below expectations while costs for the event exceeded their planned budget. The largest number of players came to compete in Street Fighter V, a game that has much more success in Japan than in the West. Other games featured were Tekken 7 and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. With no major announcements coming (the most interesting being DLC for the 2-year-old King of Fighters XIV) the event seemed to lack the punch that EVO packs in the West.
EVO’s official position on their events states that “tournaments are about more than just winning.” Evo encourages “established champions” to “face off against unknown newcomers, and new rivals that might have only talked or fought online meet up and become old friends.” The tournament may need to take a more heartened approach to reach more investors in Japan, focusing on the energy around competitive gaming. In the West, e-sports are being marketed as the best of the best coming together to challenge one another in the most popular games in the world. For EVO to continue to draw in skeptical sponsors, it’s crucial that the “everyone is welcome” stance is present but serves as an undertone to the competitive nature of the event.
Let us know below what you think could help EVO Japan make its mark, and if your opinion on competitive gaming events like EVO and others.