When the news broke that Sony was now the owner of EVO and its branding after the termination of disgraced predator Joey “Mr. Wiz” Cuellar, people were mixed on the news. No one really knew what would come of it or what this meant for the future of EVO. This was compounded by the pandemic and the need for EVO to be an online event. Everyone was waiting to see what EVO would become. That has come and gone. Quietly. No big announcements and production showcasing the history of EVO or anything at all. We got a string of random qualifiers and a tournament that Twitter had to advertise. The list of missteps taken with EVO could be an article all its own, but I’m sure you can find several videos on the topic.
After such a bad year, talks of EVO being dead have become more and more prevalent. With Sony at the helm, it seemed that the event has been just another great thing we had that a corporation ruined. More, news came that EVO 2022 would also be an online event. Things were looking bad. In a world where many other tournaments were announcing their returns, EVO being online was a bad look. After that announcement, we all prepared for the worse. Until this recent news.
From the depths of Twitch’s algorithm came a streamer who would descend down and help the lowly FGC with… her money? Her vision? Something. This angel would save EVO, and her name was Imane “Pokimaine” Anys. She now co-owns the largest fighting game tournament along with Sony and the first question we all asked was “why?” Followed by “how?”
Well, it isn’t as though Pokimaine was searching for something like EVO to buy. When Sony bought EVO they did so with the company RTS which was co-founded by Pokimaine. The focus of RTS is talent management, brand advertisement, eSports, and streamers, which would explain the interest. As fighting games become more eSports-like, it could be seen as an untapped market compared to the other games that drag in millions in revenue. With this in mind, I think we can see why EVO was on the table for RTS. It’s pretty recognizable to people with even a passing knowledge of fighting games. It’s even been on ESPN, so it has some widespread success and wanting to build on that makes sense.
Now, what I don’t think this means is that Pokimaine will have anything to do with the organization of EVO when it comes to game lineups. I think her company will help with productions and getting new players out there, but I highly doubt she’ll do more than that. As someone who seems to only play things like Minecraft or Fortnite, it would surprise me if her interests went farther than seeing a moneymaking opportunity. I guess Melee has a chance to come back? I’m sure that game brought in tons of money.
Ultimately, this continues to be a wait-and-see issue, but I doubt Pokimaine’s involvement is going to be substantial. We may see her announce things or something, but I doubt it’ll go that far. Hell, if anything, this could be a good thing in the end. Fighting games have always had a problem grabbing an audience like the other big eSports do. Imagine having someone with her audience and influence advertising EVO? I don’t see an issue with that. I’m sure the FGC wouldn’t mind fresh blood in the scene. Because, as we know, the FGC is welcoming, rational, and not at all problematic or toxic.
Sarcasm aside, the only way I see this going south is if she actually tried to have a huge hand in EVO. Adding weird games, making weird rules, or whatever wacky things she’s capable of. The best thing she can do is sit back and provide the infrastructure and money. As long as she stays quiet and opens her purse, EVO will be fine? With or without her, there are other problems EVO needs to deal with, but at least she isn’t one of those problems.