This is pretty crazy. As Mike Willams posted on USGamer:

Last year for Evo 2015, Ultra Street Fighter IV hit 2,227 registrants, so this puts Street Fighter V somewhere above that number. The community must feel pretty good about Street Fighter V in order for the game to beat Ultra’s numbers in only a few days.

I think this is less about the community’s feelings regarding Street Fighter V and more:

  • Ultra Street Fighter IV isn’t being offered as a main game at Evo.
  • Street Fighter V is definitely going to be the prime time highlight game for finals. Everybody wants a shot.
  • A new main entry in the series means that the competition field is going to be slightly leveled. People who have been playing for a long time will still be good, but there’s always a few new faces who rise to the top with each new game release.
  • The fighting game community is on the rise—for every game—and events are only going to get bigger.

I’m bummed that I can’t afford Evo this year; it would have been fun. (Though it’s probably best to wait until year two of the finals being in an arena so they can figure it out.)

I still have a room booked for Combo Breaker, though, which I expect will be just as huge when it happens later this spring. I hope I’ll be able to afford to make the trip after the office renovation expenses popped up—it promises to be a fun time.

Hayward in the Players’ Tribune:

This isn’t a fad. It’s the future.

Professional gamers themselves are developing a massive following. These guys train just as rigorously as any professional athlete to master their craft. And while they probably couldn’t be distinguished in a crowd of people, when they log in under their usernames — whether it be Doublelift, Faker or Snip3down (who actually grew up down the street from me; really good tennis player) — there are hundreds of thousands of people who want to watch them do their thing.

I’m not writing this to defend gaming. It doesn’t need defending. I just want non-gamers to recognize this incredible thing that’s happening right now. Video game culture has now gone mainstream — and we’re only scratching the surface. Because whether you acknowledge or not, you’re probably a gamer. Have you ever felt a certain rush when a perfect candy arrives and takes out multiple rows? You’re a gamer. Have you killed some time by flinging a bird into a rudimentary structure? Gamer. Have you moved even numbers around to make them add up to 2048? That’s gaming, bro.

I suggest you read the whole thing; it’s a fantastic peek into where gaming is right now and why it’s such a big thing. If you have ever wondered why I spend my weekends watching fighting game tournaments, or take time off around Evo weekend every year, this article will help you understand.