Nintendo Is Shutting Down Its Biggest Tournament
A whole year after shutting down a Smash Bros. event over the use of modded games, and more than a couple of months after pulling Super Smash Bros from EVO 2022’s lineup, Nintendo just shut down a Smash World Tour ( SWT) event, blindsiding the organizers who truly believed that the licensing talks with Nintendo were progressing positively. Unfortunately, things aren’t always as they seem; Nintendo — who has always been strict with its IPs — has made some questionable moves as of late.
According to Kotaku, the organizers of Smash World Tour announced yesterday that they’re being shut down after Nintendo — without any warning — told them they couldn’t operate. This is quite unfortunate since the SWT event is organized by a third party, a group of fans who encompassed a worldwide collection of events and tournaments under a single banner since Nintendo has proven to be historically ineffective at arranging official competitions and events.
The SWT has been the lifeblood of the Smash scene and quite possibly the largest esports event in the history of gaming — unfortunately, it failed to line Nintendo’s pockets.
What’s even more bizarre about the whole cancelation is the fact that Nintendo and the Smash World Tour team have been discussing a licensing deal that would make the event officially sanctioned by Nintendo and quite possibly become a source of revenue for the company. Following the announcement of Panda Cup, the first officially licensed Super Smash Bros. event, Nintendo contacted the SWT team, asking them whether they’d be interested in official licensing, stating that they haven’t infringed on any of Nintendo’s IPs.
However, what seemed like Nintendo’s hard look at the community relationships turned out to not be so hard since the company effectively undermined everything Smash World Tour — something which the team has now publicly disclosed. Nintendo followed with a statement that the company and the SWT team didn’t reach an agreement and that the company hasn’t requested any changes or event cancelations for the remainder of 2022, considering the negative implications cancelations would have on the SWT team and player community. That has not turned out to be the case.
Smash World Tour organizers have disputed Nintendo’s statement by making the correspondence between the company and the SWT team public. As it turns out, SWT had received, in writing, a statement from Nintendo, in which the company states that it expects all commercial events featuring Nintendo’s IPs to be approved by the official license, which has to be secured well in advance of any public event announcement. According to Nintendo, Smash World Tour doesn’t meet the company’s expectations regarding health and safety and internal partner guidelines.
Nintendo also added that they won’t grant a license for the Smash World Tour 2022 or any Smash World Tour activity in 2023. And while they admittedly haven’t called for cancelations directly, anyone reading between the lines also read legal action threats against SWT if they have failed to secure the license. Corporate playgrounds are very much similar to shark tanks, and Nintendo played the SWT team dirty; the company’s actions have crippling financial consequences, and while the SWT team might have ground for legal action, such actions require funding.