The Fighting Game Community (FGC) is big, and the official numbers from Evo 2016 show it’s only getting bigger. More than 14,000 fighting game fans will duke it out across nine games. Street Fighter V is leading the record turnout expected in this month’s tournament with more than 5,000 registered competitors.

Evo’s Joey Cuellar released the final registration numbers for Evo 2016 this morning. Let’s take a look.

Street Fighter V – 5,065

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U – 2,637

Super Smash Bros. Melee – 2,350

Pokkén Tournament – 1,165

Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator – 903

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 – 770

Mortal Kombat X – 707

Tekken 7 – 543

Killer Instinct – 540

Total: 14,680

Man, I can’t wait. There’s just something about FGC tournaments that are more entertaining than other eSports. Hell, I don’t even play fighting games all that often – but I can’t help but tune it. The energy from the crowds and commentators is infectious. One of these days, I’m going to catch Evo in person.

How Evo 2016 stacks up against 2015

Evo 2016 is going to have a record turnout. But how does each game’s number of registered fighters compare to last year’s turnout? Street Fighter V obviously highlights the record numbers with more than 30% of total registered fighters. Here’s how 2015 looked.

Ultimate Street Fighter IV – 2227

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U – 1926

Super Smash Bros. Melee – 1869

Mortal Kombat X – 1162

Guilty Gear Xrd SIGN – 968

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 – 816

Tekken 7 – 458

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax – 437

Killer Instinct – 397

Total: 9,990

Besides the massive push from Street Fighter V this year, a few things stand out compared to last year. Killer Instinct saw a nice little bump of about 140 more players. It looks like the Windows 10 version translated into extra players in the competitive scene as well.

The Marvel vs. Capcom fanbase remains dedicated and saw a tiny dip of about 40 players. Smash Bros. saw healthy increases across both titles.

Mortal Kombat X Evo 2016

The drop in Mortal Kombat X players came as a surprise to me. That’s about a 40% drop compared to 2015. For a game with a good prize pool, you would think the player count would increase.

Evo Street Fighter V finals tackle TV

Now this is going to be something to watch. The Street Fighter V finals on Sunday, July 17 will be carried live on ESPN2. The top 8 action kicks off at 10 pm ET.

Live TV has always been a tough nut for competitive gaming to crack. But I like this move. Fighting games are the easiest games to watch from a viewer’s standpoint. Yes, there’s a lot of nuance and strategy involved – but the action is easy to follow. For the non-competitive gaming fans out there, it’s the perfect kind of game to watch.

If any game can get eSports and TV to jell, it’s a fighting game. Sorry DOTA/LoL/CS:GO fans, those games are great – but they are not the friendliest games to watch for newcomers.

And for all the folks who will inevitably complain about games on ESPN? Zip it. If they can show bowling, poker, cheerleading and the spelling bee, a few hours of Street Fighter V won’t kill you.

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