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Street Fighter II Turbo Clings on at Evo

4 min

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Street Fighter II Turbo Clings on at Evo
A true classic for all ages

Evo, an annual gathering of fighting game fans, became the biggest eSports event overnight when organizers announced 10,224 entrants for the summer contest. It will eventually take place between 19-21st July 2024 so, for now, it’s the most populous event that hasn’t occurred yet, but there’s history to be made this year in Las Vegas. 

Live Amusements

Live gaming has taken on a life of its own. According to figures listed by Influencer Marketing Hub, the number of people sitting down to watch Tekken 8 pros battle for their entertainment was estimated at 249.5 million "occasional" fans and 240 million committed eSports enthusiasts in 2022. 

Statista adds that the latter number could rise to 318 million by 2025.

This surge in game fans is part of a wider trend for live amusements. There’s no hiding that Twitch and YouTube are popular for live broadcasts but casino operators have also been getting involved in the space. 

The PlayStar website lets visitors play real casino games live with professional dealers. It has invested heavily in different versions of blackjack, adding variants like Infinite Blackjack and Free Bet Blackjack, as well as VIP lobbies for high rollers. PlayStar aims to make the online experience more authentic to the brick-and-mortar casino.

It’s debatable how the concept can evolve further, especially given that Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse experiment seems to have failed. A certain battle royale game has been inserting “immersive music experiences” into the gameplay, however, including one from metal band Metallica in late June: Fuel. Fire. Fury.

Street Fighter II Turbo

Evo, or the Evolution Championship Series, is one of the original eSports events in the West. It recently dropped the game that it was based on - Street Fighter II Turbo, although it will still feature in a Community Showcase event - to concentrate on more modern pursuits. 

In 2024, that includes Tekken 8, Mortal Kombat 1, The King of Fighters XV, and Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising. Street Fighter 6 will be in attendance too, of course. 

Street Fighter II Turbo has been on Evo’s backburner since before 2016, meaning it got two decades in the sun. 

Capcom’s brawler debuted at Evo in 1996 when forty players first duked it out in San Diego. The game had been around for four years, and the tournament was held via a Japanese arcade cabinet, a decision scrapped in the mid-2000s.

While the demise of Street Fighter II Turbo was inevitable, the shift away from retro titles and ways of playing is always a sore point. It was in 2004 when the original cabinets were done away with in favor of console games, for instance.

Killer Instinct

The sad reality is that Street Fighter II Turbo wasn’t pulling in the viewers. A channel showing Super Street Fighter II Turbo at Mandalay Bay in 2023 only found 213 viewers at its peak. Compare that to the 442,302 people who watched Street Fighter 6 during Evo 2023.

The Community Showcase does mean that some, older games will have tournaments at Evo 2024, including Capcom vs. SNK 2 (2001), Skullgirls 2nd Encore, and one that predates even Street Fighter II Turbo - Killer Instinct (1994). 

Maybe there’s life in these old games yet.

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