Melee Tournaments in Nintendo-Approved Smash Bros. Ultimate Are A First

Melee Tournaments in Nintendo-Approved Smash Bros. Ultimate Are A First

Nintendo has announced an official Super Smash Bros. tournament in cooperation with Panda Global, which will take place next year for the first time.

Nintendo has approved an official Smash Bros tournament circuit for the first time in an unexpected move. The firm is known for being aggressively litigious in its intellectual property being used in large-scale operations, such as when it shut down a tournament incorporating the Super Smash Bros. Brawl mod Project+ just a few months ago. This is an unexpected action on the part of the firm.

When it comes to intellectual property, Nintendo is a unique case. It is typically aggressively protective of its brands, slamming anyone who tries to profit from its intellectual property or mod its games. Mods, fan projects, and emulations of the firm’s beloved games have all been shut down by the company in the past. Nintendo isn’t usually involved in small-scale events, such as local friends arranging an informal tournament, but Nintendo steps in to shut things down when money or mods are involved. For years, players have had to tread carefully.

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Now, though, Nintendo has partnered with Panda Global to launch the first-ever officially licensed Smash Bro. The tournament, as evidenced by a recent press release. The tournament will feature both Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Super Smash Bros. Brawl and in North America in 2022. More details, including a precise venue, a schedule of events, and prizes for the victors, will be released at a later date. Players from the United States will fight for tournaments online, with in-place qualifications and championship matches after the event organizers deem it safe. Players from Canada and Mexico are also welcome to compete, though international travel restrictions may apply during the pandemic. Nintendo has a reputation for being a slow starter—the Switch didn’t get a Twitch app until four years after it was released—but it appears the firm is finally embracing the Smash Bros. tournament scene.

This collaboration makes sense. Panda Global has been conducting tournaments for various games since 2015, and Nintendo has previously held tournaments for its games at special events. For Nintendo, which wants to get more involved in tournaments, working with a seasoned brand like Panda Global provides a solid foundation for the event to function successfully. Panda Global also has its esports team dedicated entirely to the Super Smash Bros. franchise, indicating that the corporation is well-versed in that field. This isn’t the first time Nintendo has shown interest in competitions this year. The business launched the first official Pokémon Unite competition in Japan just a few months ago. Nintendo appears to be attempting to reach out to a segment of its audience with whom it has had a tense relationship in the past.

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If the Smash Bros. tournament goes well, it might signal the start of a new era for Nintendo in terms of how it handles events centered around its games. Makers of Nintendo-branded items will still have to exercise caution, but at least now, more gamers may look forward to open-air competitions.

The Nintendo Switch version of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is now available.

Source: Panda Global/Twitter