CEOTaku Cancelled in Wake of Rising COVID-19 Cases in Florida
Alex Jebailey’s premier fighting game tournament for anime fighters, CEOTaku, has been cancelled in the wake of news that Florida has become the new global hotspot for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19.)
Despite places like Disney World reopening, and the state of Florida making every effort to reopen, Jebailey has wisely decided against hosting the event for the safety of everyone involved. Florida’s rate of reported cases has not slowed down despite all of the efforts to go to a “new normal,” with over 15,000 cases reported yesterday in the Sunshine State alone. This is more than the entirety of Europe – not exactly a record for the state to be proud of.
Why Was CEOTaku Cancelled?
“It is with great sadness that with only a few months until CEOtaku would have taken place and the COVID-19 pandemic still continuing to rise, we will be cancelling this year’s event,” Jebailey said in a statement. “This would have been the sixth annual CEOtaku. The event had seen continuous growth thanks to the passion and the AFGC’s expanding communities. Although many states are about to open up, we do not feel we can deliver the event you are expecting safely.
Almost every fighting game event since February has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus, and many events have had to fight for their survival due to massive bills from venues who would not consider COVID-19 a valid reason to cancel. However, now that almost every state has declared a state of emergency around the virus, this is no longer an issue, something Jebailey points out in his statement.
“Thankfully, CEO Gaming Inc. won’t be negatively financially impacted by this decision and our venue deposit has been shifted to a future CEO Gaming event,” Jebailey said.
This is good news for CEO as a whole, who already took a financial hit earlier this year from being unable to host the main CEO event. They also had to issue mass refunds from being unable to cancel CEO Dreamland. This was one of the last live events that the FGC saw in person, alongside Dreamhack Anaheim.
When is CEOTaku 2021?
Along with the news of 2020’s event being cancelled, CEOTaku announced the dates for next year. The event will run from September 24-26, and will utilize all 60,000 square feet of the Wyndham Orlando’s space. This puts it solidly around the time period that CEOTaku usually runs, and will be the sixth CEOtaku event. 2020 has put a halt to most fighting game events being run continuously and broke a whole lot of streaks, including the 20th Evo event, which switched to Online before being canceled on account of the sexual allegations against Joey “Mr. Wizard” Cuellar.
“As we pass the time waiting for the threat of Coronavirus to be eliminated, we will continue to plan and strive for the next iteration of CEOtaku to be its biggest and best yet!” he concluded. “We hope you stay safe in the interim so that you can attend it next year.”
Instead of the tournament, Jebailey says that he will be hosting a sort of “best of” stream highlighting moments from past CEOTaku events as a sort of ESPN Classic style event. He is also looking into which anime fighters might make for good online tournaments, along with being an entertaining time for the anime FGC.
What Will the Impact of This Be on the AFGC?
Of course, an event like this being cancelled is a big blow to the Anime FGC as a whole, who has come to view CEOTaku as one of the most premier events on the calendar, but safety has to come first. 2020 in general has become a year that’s going to be more or less lost to time in the FGC, with the ramifications of that loss of momentum surely affecting things for years to come. Even any results gained from online events will only be footnotes when people look back on the history of the scene during this period, mainly due to the lack of a solid competitive environment online.
There are not many anime specific events in the FGC, with many tournaments running anime fighters, but very few focusing on them. The next biggest anime specific event is AnimEvo, a side tournament that runs concurrently with the Evolution Championship Series every year, who coincidently are trying to distance themselves from that brand in the wake of the sexual misconduct displayed by Cuellar.
This sort of catered approach to events has been innovated by Jebailey, who also began running the CEO Dreamland series to cater to the Smash community. This idea began out of the idea that CEO had grown so much that it was hard to specifically cater to each individual community’s needs, especially around Smash, whose matches traditionally take much longer and can make scheduling around it difficult with multiple titles.
Jebailey notes that a special CEOTaku merch drop will be made alongside the online event to support CEO as a whole, and the continuation of the event series as a whole.