Nintendo’s Tightened Grip on Super Smash Bros Esports

Nintendo’s Tightened Grip on Super Smash Bros Esports

20. November 2023 by Valentin Pasetti

Nintendo has recently implemented stricter guidelines for “community” esports tournaments for its popular game series, Super Smash Bros. These new rules, which came into effect on November 15, are seen as more restrictive than their predecessors, stirring controversy and criticism within the esports community.

Key Changes in Tournament Policies

  • Participant Limit: Community tournaments are now capped at 200 participants (300 for online events).
  • Monetization Restrictions: Entry fees limited to £18 ($20 in the US), with prize pools capped at £4500 ($5000) and an annual limit of £9000 ($10,000).
  • Profit Prohibition: Any surplus funds must be returned to participants or spectators.
  • Sponsorship Rules: Tournament organizers cannot receive money or goods from event sponsors.
  • High School Events: Require written permission from Nintendo.

Industry Reactions

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Criticism from Esports Journalists and Lawyers

  • Rod Breslau’s View: He criticizes Nintendo for its lack of support and active hindrance of dedicated competitive players.
  • Harris Peskin’s Perspective: Warns that these restrictions could significantly harm the Smash esports ecosystem.

Comparisons with Other Publishers

  • Stricter than Peers: Nintendo’s criteria are viewed as much more restrictive than those of other game publishers.

Licenses in Europe and Japan

  • Limited Availability: Esports News UK reports that licenses are scarce in Europe and very limited in Japan.

Background of Tension

  • Cancellation of Smash World Tour 2023: Last year’s event was canceled after Nintendo refused to grant a license, leading to widespread backlash.

Nintendo’s Stance on Esports

Nintendo has long been criticized for its combative approach to esports, exerting tight control over how and by whom esports events using its titles are conducted. This has led to ongoing tension between the company and the competitive gaming community.

Overview of the New Directives

As Nintendo’s new policies reshape the landscape of community esports tournaments, organizers and players must navigate these tighter restrictions. The impact on grassroots esports and the future of Super Smash Bros. competitions remains a key area of interest and concern.