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Friday, May 15, 2020

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Excluded From EVO Online (2020)

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Makes sense!

There are two ways to interpret this trailer from the Evolution Championship Series (or EVO), and I'm not even going to get into the music choice:

The first is that EVO 2020 is cancelled. EVO Online, while using the EVO brand name, is not EVO 2020, and is really a side event. Actual details on participating and prizes are unknown at this time.

The second is that EVO Online is EVO 2020, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate being excluded from it is incredibly meaningful, marking the first time since before 2013 that there is no Super Smash Bros. title in the EVO roster. You can see in the prior paragraph's hyperlink that EVO 2020, the in-real-life event that was going to happen on August 1, was going to feature Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. But now it won't. (Neither will Marvel vs. Capcom 2, which does have an online multiplayer capability, like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate does.)

Regardless, all of the other games are coming to this event, and one wonders why Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is excluded despite being extremely popular in terms of entrants and viewers. EVO 2019 was great, after all.

Then you look at the article I wrote last week.

Because online play is a bit of a mess right now, having a tournament with hundreds of thousands of spectators—many of which might not own Super Smash Bros. Ultimate specifically but are interested in fighting games in general—watching a mess might reflect poorly on the game.

But not all of the games that will be at EVO 2020 have tournament-acceptable reliability with their online metagames, either. 

I don't have inside information, but perhaps some game publishers are willing to take risks with their game's online put on full display, and some game publishers are not willing to take those risks.

Let's just say... There's a reason that Nintendo no longer livestreams the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Online Open tournaments they sponsor. I was there and watched it live with the other tournament participants.

Nintendo Super Smash Bros. Ultimate North America Open 2019 Jordan Kent isnacks Seth lag livestream laggy buffering slowdown delay
“Just a quick pause in the action. [...] You might see a little bit of a slowdown or buffering, but do not worry.
The players aren't seeing that. That's not affecting them, and that won't affect the VODs afterwards, of course.
(Jordan Kent, left, lying on behalf of Nintendo. They won't be able to do that at EVO 2020.)

(Note the match's timer in the top-right corner during Nintendo's livestream before and after their quick pause, and what they're actually skipping as linked in the caption.)

Ludwig was playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate online for a few hours prior to writing this article, and for the most part, his experience was pretty good. ...Though it's definitely not the same as playing local multiplayer, and the part that isn't “for the most part” would be rather crippling in an online tournament with prize money and prestige on the line. Not very fit for the most prestigious fighting game tournament in the world!

That Nintendo livestream clip is from Nintendo's first Super Smash Bros. Ultimate North American Online Open series, which you can read more about here. It is the first of many such tournaments, but the only one with a livestream.
The livestreams are returning for the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate North American Online Open May 2020, announced less than a week after Ludwig wrote this article!
EVO Online 2020 got cancelled altogether.


  1. Predictions from what bits of the Smash community I'm connected with is that Nintendo is simply never going to bother to fix online play. And for the record, it's not merely that it's way too easy to lag--even when there's no lag there's still considerable input delay, which I've experienced for myself. What are your thoughts on this?

    1. Maybe next system/entry. It's the eternal motto with Nintendo and online.

    2. You're asking for my thoughts on, what, the prediction?

      I don't think Nintendo is gonna fix it or reduce the input lag. Or the poor buffering system.


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