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The Rise of Fighting Games: Evo 2023 and the FGC Breakout

In 2023, the world of fighting games is experiencing a resurgence. With new releases like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Tekken 8, Granblue Fantasy Versus, Guilty Gear Strive, and The King of Fighters XV, it's safe to say that this is the best time for fighting games since the '90s arcade era.

One event that showcases this revival is the Evolution Fighting Championship (Evo) 2023 tournament. Scheduled for August 4-6 in Las Vegas, Evo features a lineup of popular fighting games, including Street Fighter 6, KOFXV, Melty Blood: Type Lumina, GGS, Mortal Kombat 11, Dragon Ball FighterZ, and Tekken 7. The tournament also brings back Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, a fan-favorite.

This is Evo's second year under the ownership of Sony and content-creator management firm RTS. In an unprecedented move, Sony has injected a substantial amount of money into the tournament, with a guaranteed minimum prize pool of $25,000 for each main-stage game. This amount is record-setting for the fighting game community (FGC), which has historically operated with low prize pools and a grassroots culture.

Previously, many FGC professionals relied on sponsorships and treated their esports career as an expensive hobby. The $25,000 minimum prize pool at Evo is a significant boost for a community used to earning less than their expenses. Additionally, Capcom announced that next year's Capcom Cup tournament, featuring Street Fighter 6, will have a $2 million prize pool, with $1 million awarded to the champion.

In the past, FGC players accepted low winnings because individual tournaments served as qualifiers for larger finals, offering substantial prize money. However, the recent influx of money into Evo and the announcement of Capcom Cup X have reinvigorated interest among both new and old fighting game players. This year's Evo tournament has seen a record number of participants in each main-stage game, with the Street Fighter 6 bracket attracting over 7,000 entries, the largest in Evo's 27-year history.

The injection of funding from Sony and Capcom signifies a new era for the FGC, a community that has thrived on passion despite financial limitations. With this financial support, the FGC has the potential for substantial growth and recognition. As the Evo 2023 tournament approaches, the FGC's future looks promising, and we could witness the start of a new period of prosperity for this dedicated community.