Smash Bros. smashes EVO pre-registration records

The final pre-registration numbers are in and they took everyone by surprise. Records were shattered everywhere, tournaments are bigger than ever before, it’s looking up for the world’s biggest fighting game tournament. Let’s take a look at the official numbers courtesy of Mr. Wizard himself, Joey Cuellar.

The first thing that should stick out to you is the massive numbers Smash Ultimate has drawn. With Melee getting the EVO boot, it looks like both Smash communities have banded together to create one powerhouse of nearly 3,500 registrants, the biggest tournament that EVO has ever seen. Smash matches are also the longest out of any other game in any other tournament, so this is going to be a logistical nightmare, but a worthwhile one. This would be a great time to announce another Smash DLC character, or maybe an update patch, but Nintendo has been very resistant to actually showing reveals at EVO unlike most of the other publisher and developers in attendance.

To put this in perspective, Smash 4 had 1,354 entrants last year, and Melee had 1,351. Even putting both together wouldn’t get us to the massive draw that Smash Ultimate has, solidifying it as the king of EVO.

There are a couple other notable facts about these numbers. Street Fighter V has grown to second place out of its middle-of-the-pack standing. It’s not quite enough to take the highest slot and its remarkably fewer than last year’s 2,484 entrants, but it’s still high enough to warrant its space as the closer considering EVO’s history with the title. Expect some big announcements from Capcom come finals time.

Tekken 7 is another standout game in third this year. Unlike most other games it’s actually grown year over year, bringing in 1,885 entrants this year opposed to 1,538 entrants last year. Most of the time fighting games see their highest entrant numbers in their first year and everything drops off from there but Bandai Namco’s incredible support has kept this alive and growing since 2015! Expect at least SOME sort of announcement at the finals, even if it’s not more DLC.

Samurai Shodown and Mortal Kombat 11 are boasting some of the highest numbers from first year entrants in EVO history. These are numbers you would expect from well-established games not games with only a few months behind their scene. They have completely blown away Soul Calibur 6 which despite this being its first showing at an EVO has already somewhat fallen out of the popular spotlight, and BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle which despite its main stage status (and the major announcement of new content to come along with it) has pulled in only 640 competitors.

Finally there are the numbers themselves. DragonBall FighterZ  is in seventh place, a far drop from its first place showing last year, but it’s still bringing in nearly 1,200 competitors. In fact, this is the first time ever that EVO has seven games each breaking four figures in the registration department. All put together this makes it the biggest EVO ever. All together 14,321 people have pre-registered for this year’s main events. Compare that to 11,472 last year and you can see a huge difference, a difference not solely made up with the inclusion of a ninth major event.

But let’s say that you are not a competitor. Let’s say you are just going to watch. What can you expect from EVO? Well, Mr. Wizard himself has said that this year will have more news and reveals than EVO has ever seen before. You can, at the very least, expect news from each of the tournaments main-stage titles with the possible exception of Smash. That is Street Fighter V, Tekken 7, and BlazBlue Cross-Tag Battle will likely all have some new content coming in some way or another. Many non-main stage titles have all but confirmed DLC announcements, like Mortal Kombat 11 and Dragon Ball FighterZ. You might even see new games announced. The community is still hoping for a Marvel vs. Capcom 4 ever since the Fox/Disney deal went through.

Finally, there is one last big piece of news for the competitors out there. EVO is thinking about changing its pay structure from 60/20/10/4/2/2/1/1 to 50/15/10/7/5/5/4/4. In simplified terms, this means that first and second place would get less money, third place would get the same amount of money, and every other place in the tournament that pays out would get more money. This change would reflect how much harder it is to get into a paying position now that the FGC has grown. Mr. Wizard himself says that the pay structure for EVO has not changed since 2002 and it’s about time it reflected the current state of competitive fighting games.

EVO will take place August 2-4 in Las Vegas and the finals will take place that Sunday at the Mandalay Bay Arena. Are you going? Are you watching? What announcements do you want to see? Let us know in the comments.