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EVO 2016

EVO 2016 Sunday Finals was bittersweet for Tekken fans

A few days have passed since EVO 2016 and no-one has quite come down off of their high yet. The experience was surreal to say the least. Sure, we’ve seen complaints peppered here and there, but all of those are overshadowed by the pure awesomeness that was Sunday Finals at Mandalay Bay Convention Center. Still, we agree that there should have been some gaming chairs on stage.

Jokes aside, the FGC officially entered the eSports era with EVO this year. There’s not doubt about it. Who would have imagined that the Mandalay Bay Convention Center would be filled to capacity to watch two people battle it out in a video game? Sure, arenas watching people play video games is nothing new, but this is fighting games we’re talking about. And with Street Fighter V finals being aired on ESPN 2, things are really about to take off for everyone. The door has been kicked open.

Bittersweet

I wrote a piece titled Is Tekken 7 getting snubbed at EVO 2016 World Finals?, and now that EVO has come and gone, I can’t help but to reflect on that question again.

I don’t know about you, but watching Sunday Finals was bittersweet. I had a slight bit of disappointment along with my joy, and here’s why. Sunday World Finals at EVO was a monumental day in FGC history. It will never be forgotten. Many great story-lines came out of it – like Tekken Master taking Sonicfox to limits he had never gone to. Or, LI Joe becoming America’s most unlikely hero, and his father showing up to surprise him. Or, ESPN showing up to broadcast it on their mega network. And many, many more. When people talk about EVO 2016, I can guarantee you that it will all center around what went down at Mandalay Bay.

I would have loved for Tekken to have been on that big stage when the lights were shining their brightest! Can you imagine how it would’ve been?

No Excuse

But I have to ask… will we ever know what it’s like to be a part of Sunday finals at EVO?

Some would spout off Of course! Once Tekken 7 comes out it will be on that stage! That’s very easy to assume, but why wasn’t it on that stage this year? It wasn’t because the game is new. It wasn’t because people aren’t familiar with it. I’ll tell you why. It’s because as a community we’ve let something slip somewhere, and if we don’t pick up the slack it could happen again. We can’t take these things for granted.

There’s only one reason why Tekken 7FR wasn’t up there on that stage – small attendance and registration numbers throughout the year at other tournaments and events.

Someone might say, Well, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is old. That’s why we haven’t shown up. 

And to that I’d say Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is older, and it was up their on that stage. It hit consoles in 2011, while TTT2 hit consoles in 2012. So what’s the excuse?

The Numbers

Let’s take a look at some numbers.

As you can see, Tekken didn’t do too shabby by streaming standards, especially for being the first Finals of EVO, and at 9am in the morning. That’s pretty good.

There were even 549 players registered for Tekken 7FR at EVO this year, and there would have been more had there not been a cap. Players came from far and wide just to compete in a game that’s not even out in three-fourths of the world yet.

These are signs of hope. People are becoming hungry for Tekken again.

Not to mention, Bandai Namco Entertainment is doing a great job with their marketing too. It was great to see Tekken 7 commercials on ESPN, and all of the advertising in Las Vegas this past weekend. They are serious about making this the biggest Tekken installment to date. We have to do our part as a community though.

Better Days Ahead

My dearest Tekken community, we can’t allow this to happen again. Tekken is one of the most successful fighting games of all time, and it helped pave the way for where fighting games are today.

We should have been on that stage. It’s our fault that it wasn’t. Not EVO’s or anyone else. But I am confident that we will do the right thing from this point on.

Having said all of the above – great things are ahead. Like I said earlier, all of the signs are there. Bandai Namco is doing their part by making the game great and pushing it hard. And now it’s our time to do our part.

You want larger prize money at events?

Consistently turn up in larger numbers.

Want more support from tournaments and tournament organizers?

Travel and show up in droves.

Want to be on the main stage at EVO 2017?

Start registering for events throughout the year in larger numbers.

Other fighting game communities travel to multiple events throughout the year, and that’s why they’re given preferential treatment. That’s why they get large purses at tournaments. That’s why so many doors open and opportunities arise for them. That’s why Street Fighter V was on ESPN 2 on Sunday.

Business is a game of numbers. Not emotion, nostalgia, warm and fuzzies or any of that. Numbers. So it’s time to double up. Triple up, even.

EVO will continue to get bigger and better. There’s even an EVO Japan planned now. Whether we grow with it is up to us.

The choice is yours.

Photo source: RedBull eSports

Aziz Peregrino-Brimah aka Zee the CEO | Founder / Editor-in-chief of TekkenGamer | Gaming has been a passion of Zee's since the early days of Atari and ColecoVision. His first experience with Tekken was in the early 90's, and it was Tekken 3 that sealed the deal. True story... As a teenager Zee once received his Winn-Dixie paycheck and spent it all at the arcade the same day. Needless to say, his mother wasn't pleased.

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