In a move that has shocked the community, Nintendo is teaming up with Panda Global for the eSports Super Smash Bros. First officially licensed in North America. Nintendo not only supports official Super Smash Bros. tournaments. but also events for GameCube lovers Super Smash Bros. Super Smash Bros., also.
Nintendo of America announced a new series of Smash Bros tournaments today. In a tweet, the company said, “Get your A-game ready, Super #SmashBros competitors. We’ve teamed up with @PandaGlobal to kick off the Super Smash Bros. championship lap. First officially licensed in North America, in 2022! “
Confirmed. Get your A-game ready, Super #SmashBros competitors. We have partnered with @PandaGlobal to kick off the Super Smash Bros. championship round. First officially licensed in North America, in 2022! #SmashBrosUltim #SmashBrosMelee https://t.co/3WKbEYrMH2
– Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) November 18, 2021
In a press release, Nintendo’s Director of Product Marketing, Bill Minnen, called the partnership with Panda Global “the next step in Nintendo’s efforts to create a competitive environment that is consistent, fun and friendlier for our players and fans.”
Calling the Smash community’s relationship with Nintendo “wobbly” would be an overstatement. Pro players who have dedicated their lives and careers to being the best at Smash have often come at odds with Nintendo over the years, making today’s announcement an important step toward healing. love that.
The most famous example was in 2013 when Nintendo tried to shut down Melee from showing up at Evo. When that didn’t work out, Nintendo attempted to block the event’s live streams. Following fan outrage, Nintendo immediately reversed the decision and the Melee event went ahead as planned. However, many players felt Nintendo was playing their cards, and since that day, much of the Smash community believes Nintendo is against them.
As the years went by, Nintendo tried to support Smash events as official. Are from Smash invitational at E3, where pro players are invited to try out the new Smash game before its release, to Nintendo sponsorship of smaller tournaments and online events. However, the Smash community didn’t feel that was the support they were looking for.
“From the public looking in, we’ve had some game demos or Nintendo booths at a couple of events and maybe a few tweets about these events. No grand prize or organization, though, said “Christina” Chia” Korsak, a longtime member of the Smash Bros. community, said in an interview with IGN last year.
Korsak went on to say that Nintendo-sponsored events led to various problems, like not using popular modified versions of Smash, broadcasting restrictions on licensed tracks, etc.
In 2020, it seems that the gap between Nintendo and the Smash community is only widening, as the fighting game community comes face to face with allegations of sexual misconduct involving players, organizers and commentators.
At the time, Nintendo issued a statement to IGN, saying, “At Nintendo, we are deeply concerned by the allegations against certain members of the competitive gaming community. They absolutely cannot. We want to make it clear that we condemn any act of violence, harassment and exploitation against anyone and we stand with the victims.”
At the end of 2020, many Nintendo gaming community speaks out against Nintendo, criticized the company’s approach to canceling events featuring games including Smash Bros. and Splatoon. The backlash comes after Nintendo made the decision to shut down Smash Bros.’s Melee ‘Big House’ tournament, which was one of the scene’s biggest events. The discontinuation and cancellation focus on the tournament’s use of Melee’s unofficial Slippi mod, which allows players to play Melee online. Finally, the Big House completely canceled the event. The cancellation led to the #freemelee movement, a social media movement protesting against Nintendo’s decision.
As tensions continue to simmer, it looks like some heavyweight Smash players are preparing to jump ship from Smash and cling to Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, a recently released platform fighter inspired by Melee. The new game is compelling because it comes with a new developer and publisher, without the baggage associated with Nintendo and the notoriously tense relationship the Smash community has.
Pro Smash Bros Ultimate Player Controller Layout.
It remains to be seen how this officially licensed circuit will differ from other events Nintendo has sponsored in the past, but the simple fact that Nintendo is acknowledging Melee is already a big change. In general, Nintendo only supports the latest scene of the Smash game, currently Super Smash Bros.
Panda Global is a professional eSports organization, and Nintendo’s choice to partner with them may represent a more serious attempt to support the competitive landscape, rather than organizing everything on its own. In a press release, Nintendo and Panda Global announced that additional details including official rules, event dates, and reviews will be revealed in the future.
While we await official details on what this partnership will entail, Smash experts have responded with a bombshell announcement. In response to Nintendo’s Tweet, melee player ‘hungry’ Juan Debiedma called today “the first day of a beautiful future.”
“Thank you for crediting the competitive Melee and for supporting both scenes,” hungerbox wrote. “I’m looking forward to what can be achieved when both sides work together. It will be something very special.”
Today is the first day of a beautiful future.
Thank you for noting the competitive Melee and for supporting both scenes.
I look forward to what can be achieved when both sides work together.
This will be something very special. 🙌
– hungry box (@LiquidHbox) November 18, 2021
However, some players remain skeptical about this announcement, given Nintendo’s solid relationship with the community over the years.
“I firmly believe that Panda Global is always in the best interests of the community,” melee player Hugo ‘HugS’ Gonzalez wrote in a statement to IGN. “Nintendo has proven otherwise over the years. That’s good news if executed correctly, but I’ll wait for other details.”
We’ll have to wait and see how Nintendo’s officially licensed circuit plays out. For example, there could still be disagreements over Melee mods like Slippi and 20XX, or rule set decisions that the community might disagree on. However, Nintendo is still extending the olive branch to a community they have constantly clashed with, which is sure to turn into a fascinating chapter in Smash Bros.
Logan Plant is a freelance writer for IGN. You can find him on Twitter @LoganJPlant.
https://www.ign.com/articles/nintendo-official-smash-bros-tournament-series Super Smash Bros. tournaments.