With Sony now co-owning the Evolution Championship series and the newly awakened push for optimization in the fighting game community, there’s been a curiousity to see what sort of impact the company would have on the hardware used at their second go at the massive event.
Thanks to the Evo 2023 lineup reveal this past week, we not only know which games are going to be put on display at the event, but also that Street Fighter 6 will be the only one there using the PlayStation 5 for competition.
Out of the 8 mainstage titles, SF6 is the only one to be run on Sony’s newest console, which likely boils down to a handful of key reasons.
Guilty Gear Strive, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Mortal Kombat 11, Tekken 7, The King of Fighters 15, Melty Blood: Type Lumina and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will all be run only on the PlayStation 4, so there won’t be any mainstage games on PC this year either.
One of the main reasons for the sole PS5 inclusion can probably be attributed (at least in part) to Street Fighter 6 serving as the premier Evo title for 2023 at a time when the tournament may be bigger than ever before.
Street Fighter 5 previously broke the record for most entrants in a single Evo event with 5,065 competitors signed up, and the wide interest SF6 is seeing so far makes it easy to see the new game breaking that number by at least a fair bit.
It makes sense that Sony would want to put the most focus on Street Fighter and give them the most resources, which ties directly into the second point.
Up until pretty much this month, PS5’s have been a scarce commodity for over 2 years, and it’s doubtful that even Sony could (or would feasibly want to) secure 1,000+ consoles to use for 3 days.
A few hundred could more easily be done, so hopefully there’s enough setups to go around for how many people are going to be there.
Taking a look at the other majors leading up to Evo, Combo Breaker 2023, which takes place before SF6 releases, is only using PS4s and CEO 2023 is similarly only using PS5s for Street Fighter.
Even though KOF15, MK11, Guilty Gear and DBFZ will all have dedicated PS5 versions by the time of the event, it doesn’t look like the FGC is quite to the point of fully pushing to the next generation hardware just yet — but it is at least a decent sign that we’re getting closer.
Despite the hardware upgrades, many in the community are likely happy to see large events remain on the PS4 Pro for now due to the PS5 having a pretty shaky record thus far when it comes to input latency in fighting games.
Titles like Strive and KOF featured higher input lag on PS5 compared to the PS4, and though developers have started figuring out how to bring those numbers more in line with each other, it’s still not where the competitive scene wants it to be as a whole.
As for how Street Fighter 6 fares on the PS5, early tests of the initial beta showed some mildly concerning results with over 5 frames of lag on resolutions over 1080p.
But for their second beta, Capcom added the Input Delay Reduction setting to the game’s options, which pretty much dropped the latency to below 4 frames across the board.
So it seems Sony and Capcom are confident enough in SF6 running on the PS5 as the main competitive platform, although admittedly, we have seen that be a bit premature with the PS4 version of Ultra Street Fighter 4 needing to be pulled from the Capcom Pro Tour.
As things stand currently, the FGC is still likely a full year or more away from fully adapting to the newer consoles, but it’s something that is going to happen considering Tekken 8 and other future titles won’t be available on the PS4 at all.
There’s a lot of questions as to how the new generation of fighting games will shape up for the community, and organizers are going to have a lot on their plates to figure it all out.
Evo is just one indicator now of the direction of the FGC, and there’s already questions and concerns about the steps their taking this year by cutting down the paid finalists from the top 8 to only the top 6.
Evo 2023 is scheduled to take place from August 4–6 in Las Vegas, Nevada.