Nintendo shuts down Smash World Tour without warning
Smash World Tour organizers have announced that Nintendo has shut down the tournament without warning. The company sent a notice the night before Thanksgiving that the championship could “no longer operate.”
The Smash World Tour (SWT) is an unofficial tournament run by fans. The event has risen to meet the demand of fans who want to participate in events and competitions related to Smash games. The Tour was one of the biggest esports in the world.
In 2022, the organizers helped to connect 6,400 live events around the globe. The 2022 Championships was planned to have a prize pool of over $250,000, the largest in Smash history. The 2023 Smash World Tour would have a bigger prize pool of over $350,000.
With Nintendo forcefully shutting down the event, the organizers reported that they would be losing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Although the situation is grim for the organizers, they still plan to ensure all attendees will receive full refunds.
The SWT team believed that it could co-exist with Nintendo. In November 2021, Nintendo contacted them to express interest in collaborating with the team. Nintendo said that the organizers had not infringed on its IP, but the company was still concerned about game modifications.
“That lengthy conversation changed our perspective on Nintendo at a macro level; it was incredibly refreshing to talk to multiple senior team members and clear the air on a lot of miscommunications and misgivings in the years prior,” the SWT said in a statement.
The positive interaction caused the SWT team to be assured of the tournament’s continuation. However, Nintendo still forced the SWT to shut down at the last minute. The SWT blamed Nintendo’s partnership with the esports organization Panda Global to hold the Panda Cup for its demise.
“Unfortunately, the attempts from Panda to undermine the Smash World Tour did not stop, as the CEO continued to tell organizers we were definitely not coming back in 2022, and if we did, we’d get shut down shortly after announcement,” the SWT said.
“This is when we realized it truly was all being shut down for real. We asked if they understood the waves that would be made if we were forced to cancel, and Nintendo communicated that they were indeed aware.”
Nintendo responds to Smash World Tour
Nintendo has reached out to Kotaku to share its side of the story. The company said it could not partner with the SWT over a failure to reach an agreement with the organizers. Nintendo added that it did not ask for any change or cancelation of the 2022 events, including the 2022 Championship.
The SWT team disagreed, saying that Nintendo made it clear that the company was not interested in allowing them to continue to exist. The organizers asked the company if they could work with them in 2024 and allow 2022 and 2023 to operate without a license. Nintendo said that “those times were now over.”
Fans are unhappy with the turn of events. Some said they would no longer attend any live event hosted by Nintendo or Panda Circuit. Others condemned Panda Circuit, calling it a “Nintendo shill.”