I kind of wish I had managed to save the screen-caps of the concurrent viewers during the grand finals for Super Smash Bros. Melee during EVO 2013, because the numbers were absolutely righteous. How righteous? We're talking well over 130,000 people tuning in to see Fox McCloud beat the royal crap out of the Ice Climbers.
As noted on the eSports Update website, the game was blasting through the numerical barriers and setting up some hyper hype for a game that's more than 12 years old. Decade or not, this dedicated fighter had some undeniable numbers on-hand for the live-stream as the Fighting Game Community came out in spades to see some of the most intense fights ever in an interactive video game.
SSBM, however, was not the most watched event of the day... as Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3 came away the winner with more than 140,000 concurrent viewers streaming the game. However, neither of these games could have reached the numbers they did without first having been setup by SNK Playmore's King of Fighters XIII. The sprite-based fighter had some of the most intense matches of the entire day and ended up getting a ton of people tuning in to see what all the fuss was about.
With the grand finals coming to an explosive finish for KOF XIII, those same viewers were then further exposed to Super Smash Bros. Melee where the tweets went off the charts as everyone watching the stream began hashtag-bombing Nintendo, thanking them for the support and not pulling Smash Bros from the line-up.
What's more is that this really did set a precedent, showing publishers that dedicated communities can keep a game a live long after the initial eight-week money pot when a game releases. The thing that really struck me hard was how well balanced and dynamic Smash Bros. Melee is in a competitive atmosphere. I've always played the SSB games casually so I had no idea you could do what they were doing during the tournament.
In fact, the match was so great, you'll probably want to check out Mango doing his thing in the video below, courtesy of IGN. It's a great watch, indeed.
By and far, EVO 2013 was unbelievably good and it definitely trumped everything from EVO 2012. While there weren't specific moments quite as thrilling as some of the ones from the top 10 EVO 2012 spots, the narrative of the fights and the way the fights unfolded over the course of entire matches made them that much more thrilling. It'll be hard to put together a top 10 list to properly convey all the moments from EVO 2013 while paying respect to the way those moments were reached.
Nevertheless, this is a great thing for gaming – having old and new titles keeping the competitive scene alive within the community – and I can't wait to see what we'll see at EVO 2014.
Also, huge props to the Big 'N' for doing the right thing in the end and not banning the stream of Super Smash Bros. Melee.