Well, we’ve put another Evo in the books, and I think I can say without a doubt it was our best Evo ever.
And when I say “our” I mean all of us. While Evo is about brutal tournaments, international competition, and guts, it’s the heart and bonds within the community that makes Evo special. So thanks to all of you.
First, thanks to everyone who attended Evo. The 2011 venue was our biggest ever, and you guys packed it all weekend. I know we were all floored by our ability to pack a 55,000 square foot ballroom all weekend and end to end on Sunday night. In spite of the high tension, the atmosphere at Evo was overwhelmingly friendly, accommodating, and then, when it was all on the line, raw hype. Thanks for showing the world that the passion of our Evo community is the best damned thing in competitive gaming, and a special thanks for all those who travelled from around the world to join our party. Evo 2011 attendees hailed from all 50 states and 44 different countries. It is truly a world-wide event.
Next, thanks to our exhibitors and panelists. Thanks to the game creators for showing that you truly care about the fans: Capcom, Namco-Bandai, THQ, Atlus, the Skullgirls team, and Playstation Home. You sent not only games, but the people that make the games, and they have become a part of our community. I also want to give a very heart-felt thanks to our home-grown exhibitors, founded or staffed by members of the fighting game community: MadCatz, Insert Coin(s), Focusfire, Brokentier, Galaxy4Gamers, and Meatbun. As the fighting game community grows up, it’s amazing to see players finding ways to give back to the community in their professional lives and help us all grow together.
Thanks also to the “stream-monsters” (I prefer to just say “fans”) and everyone who followed the event online. This year we invested a lot to bring you guys the best online coverage possible, with multiple streams and live bracket updates all weekend. Anyone at Evo knows the incredible hype and energy that was running through the room all weekend, but thanks to everyone’s online response you absolutely blew it up in social media. We’ll be able to tell you more later this week, but to say we shattered our stream records would be an understatement–we will have more exciting news to share about that very soon, and we hope you’ll make the decision to join us next year in person. The online response to Evo 2011 shows beyond a doubt that fighting game broadcasts are some of the most exciting content out there.
Thanks also to the tournament organizers around the US and the world who work year round who keep the fighting game scene humming. In 2011 there has been a high quality stream nearly every week. Special thanks to the tournaments who participated in our first ever Tournament Season: West Coast Warzone, GVN Winter Brawl, Final Round XIV, PowerUp 2011, UFGT, Shadowloo Showdown, East Coast Throwdown, MAT VIII, CEO 2011 Championship, and Nor Cal Regionals. We know exactly how hard you work to put on these events. Were proud to say you are not only our friends, but also the backbone of the community that have believed in these games and these people, just like us. Thank you.
Finally, thanks to the Evo staff and volunteers for putting on our best show ever, especially our tournament judges who managed literally over 7,000 tournament matches over the course of the weekend (7000 matches means over 17,000 games played just in the tournament!!). This feat is unprecedented in the history of competitive gaming. Thanks to Iplaywinner.com, TeamSpooky, our commentators, and stage staff for putting on a great show all weekend. And finally thanks to all the other volunteers who took time away from the show to help out in all kinds of ways–as a group we really made it all work.
So there we have it, another Evo in the books. If you had your own special Evo moments, please share them in the Evo Tournament Forum. If there are some things we can do better, go ahead and share that too. We’re always looking for suggestions to improve the event. Over the next week we’ll be sharing a lot of the content that aired this weekend in the ballroom, including the on-site interviews and a few thousand photos.
Evo has come a long way from its beginnings in a cramped California arcade, but the thing I love best about it is what hasn’t changed at all: that it’s still built straight from the community, for the community. Because of this, Evo can never be taken away from us, because Evo is all of us. To borrow a line from our 2011 program guide, “Together we are strong. Thank you.”
inkblot, MrWizard, and Ponder
[photo via Karaface]