The fighting game community’s most prestigious tournament has been knocked out by the COVID-19 outbreak. Evo has announced that this year’s event, scheduled to take place from July 31 to August 2 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, is officially canceled to protect the health and well-being of its players, fans, and event staff.

Evo is an annual fighting game event where the world’s most prominent competitors battle each other to see who really is the best in the world in their respective game. The tournament was founded in 1996 and was called Battle by the Bay, until it was rebranded as Evo in 2002.

As the biggest tournament of its kind, Evo draws the most fans and fighting game participants in attendance, making Evo 2020 a major health risk given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Prior to the latest announcement, Evo head organizer Joey “Mr. Wizard” Cuellar was optimistic about the fighting game tournament pushing through when he announced the eight major game titles for the event in early February.

The cancellation announcement follows multiple fighting game publishers’ decisions to hold off on their year-long competitive tournament circuits.

In March, Capcom canceled the first half of the 2020 Capcom Pro Tour, while Arc System Works canceled its entire Arc World Tour 2020. Last month, Bandai Namco put the Tekken World Tour on hold until the last week of June.

Fans and participants who have already booked arena tickets and hotel room reservations will receive their refunds automatically.

On a more positive note, the Evo team mentioned that they’re working on an online event for this summer to take Evo 2020’s place. The organizer promises to update fans as soon as more information is available.

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