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  1. Sony acquires fighting game tournament Evo Evo. Image Credit: Sony Sony announced today that it and a new venture called RTS have acquired Evo, the annual fighting game tournament. Evo started in 1996 and has become the most prolific annual fighting game tournament in the world. During that time, it had remained independent, although it attracted plenty of sponsors. Now, one of the biggest names in gaming owns Evo. Sony notes that Evo cofounders Tom and Tony Cannon “… will remain closely involved in an advisory role to ensure Evo continues to service the fighting game community and support its vibrant growth.” So … what does Sony need with a fighting game tournament? The company notes that fighting games are popular on its platforms, specifying that players have logged in more than 1.1 billion hours on fighting games on PlayStation consoles in 2020. But those are all third-party titles like Capcom’s Street Fighter V and Arc System Works’ Dragon Ball Fighterz. Sony hasn’t made a first-party fighting game since PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale in 2012, a title that I think only I liked. This is also an odd time to invest in esports. Due to the pandemic, in-person events have been cancelled. The shift has caused something of a lull in the growth of the sector, something that Activision Blizzard blamed this week for its decision to fire people from its esports team. Evo ran into problems last year. Aside from the pandemic, then-Evo CEO Joey Cuellar was named in multiple sexual abuse allegations. Evo’s board removed him, and many publishers pulled out of the event, causing the cancellation of the show. The situation may have given Evo’s owners a reason to want to sell and establish a new chapter for the event. Along with the announcement of the acquisition, Evo released a statement promising safer events. A message to our community. For more information visit https://t.co/6JHZCsJsXr pic.twitter.com/uj0NKRW30m — EVO (@EVO) March 18, 2021 The next Evo event will be online and will take place this August. So far, Tekken 7, Street Fighter V, Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate, and Guilty Gear Strive have been revealed as games for the event. Nintendo’s Smash Bros. series is usually a part of the show. We’ll have to see if a fighting game that you can’t play on PlayStation will be welcomed at the event this year (or if Nintendo is even interested). Source: Sony acquires fighting game tournament Evo
  2. Two new pirated movie screeners appeared online this week, way ahead of the usual screener season. Pirate release group EVO published advance copies of 'Falling' and 'My Salinger Year,' two popular films at international festivals. The releases are not typical award screeners but appear to come from online festival screenings instead. Pirated copies of movies leak all year round, often ripped from DVDs, Blu-rays or online streaming platforms. That by itself is nothing special. However, when the days are getting shorter, pirates start anticipating another release category: screeners. Screeners are advance copies of recent movies that are generally sent out to critics and awards voters. Some of these end up in the hands of pirates and are published online, with the first usually appearing around December. With this in mind, it was a surprise to see two screener releases appearing on pirate sites a few hours ago. Pirate release group EVO got their hands on early copies of the films ‘Falling‘ and ‘My Salinger Year,’ both of which are sourced from online screeners. Both films are posted with the ‘WEBSCR’ tag; Falling 2020 WEBSCR XViD-EVO and My Salinger Year 2020 WEBSCR XviD-EVO. These early releases are noteworthy, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that more will follow soon after. While the films are labeled as screeners, they don’t appear to be the typical award show releases. My Salinger Year screencap EVO’s release notes don’t reveal where the films came from. The group lists “joey_498” as the source, but without further context. What both movies have in common is that they’re not typical Hollywood blockbusters. They are titles that were showcased at festivals such as the annual Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) which ended earlier this month. Interestingly, VIFF was largely held online this year due to the COVID pandemic. This meant that ‘visitors’ could screen the films over a dedicated streaming platform, where ‘My Salinger Year’ and ‘Falling’ happened to the among the most-streamed films. We don’t know if the Canadian festival was a source for the recent leaks. We reached out to the release group EVO to find out more. While they couldn’t reveal the source for safety reasons, the screeners are confirmed festival releases. “We can’t speak about the source itself, for safety reasons. Yet, yes, they are ‘webscreeners’ from the festivals,” EVO informed TorrentFreak. Although the leaks don’t come from typical award voting releases, they do illustrate the growing trend of screeners moving online more. Last year, the Emmys moved online completely, ditching the traditional DVD screeners. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will follow this example. The Academy will still send out physical Oscars screeners this year, but starting in 2021 it will move online completely. Some movie industry insiders hoped that leaks will be easier to prevent and control online. However, release group EVO told us previously that it’s not going to make much of a difference. In recent years various screener leaks were obtained from online platforms and this week’s releases show that leaks are impossible to rule out. And indeed, EVO has just confirmed again that it doesn’t expect anything to change soon. “The only difference is that studios are being forced to move to digital. The DRM is the same and nothing else has changed,” EVO told us. Source: TorrentFreak
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