The Splatoon 2 community has called out Nintendo for reportedly canceling the stream for the NA December Open tournament after numerous teams named themselves #FreeMelee in a protest over their treatment of the Smash scene.
The #FreeMelee movement started out in the Smash community, but it’s moving across Nintendo franchises now.
The developer has been called out for their poor treatment of their esports scenes. After canceling the Big House Smash event over a cease and desist due to the organizers using a third-party client to allow for online play, players have been in revolt.
United with their fellow Nintendo fans, the Splatoon 2 community protested during the North American December Community Open. A number of teams named themselves to #FreeMelee to bring attention to the movement once the streamed finals came around.
— Nick Hitzel (@Hitzel89) November 24, 2020
However, Nintendo has silenced the protest, although they didn’t explain why. “Due to unexpected executional challenges, we had to forgo a livestream for this tournament’s finals,” the tournament organizers told players late on December 5.
Splatoon 2 tournament organizer ‘SlimyQuagsire’ amplified the announcement on Twitter, calling out Nintendo’s response to the protest.
“So the Splatoon community, in support of the Smash community, has 30% of the top teams in this weekend’s [Splatoon 2] NA Open with team names in support of Melee and Smash. So what does Nintendo do in response? They cancelled their livestream for tomorrow’s Finals,” he said on Twitter.
It’s a disappointing moment for the Splatoon community. While they tried to stand in solidarity with their Nintendo brothers-in-arms, the developer’s response has been disheartening — and unprecedented.
So the Splatoon community, in support of the Smash community, has 30% of the top teams in this weekend's Spl2 NA Open with Team names in support of Melee and Smash.
So what does @NintendoAmerica @NintendoVS do in response?
They cancelled their livestream for tomorrow's Finals.
— Slimy (@SlimyQuagsire) December 5, 2020
“Myself and other voices in the competitive community pushed hard on platforms like Discord and Twitter to try and make a statement in this event as opposed to boycotting it entirely, since a lot of casual fans who many not be in the know on the situation would register regardless,” he told Dexerto.
“To my knowledge as a member of the community since release, this is the first time Nintendo has shut down any Splatoon tournament stream in any capacity, let alone for their official tournaments.”
Slimy claims that “Nintendo benefits from these streams more than the competitive community,” as players receive minimal support. Nintendo only puts up barebones prize pools and publicity. This has only made the community more willing to try and protest to get change.
“Myself and many other organizers did not view this kind of support as important enough to forgo any bold protesting however. I believe Nintendo benefits from these streams more than the competitive community has,” he said.
“Nintendo has actively tried to squish any sort of innovation or larger development of not just the competitive communities but the casual ones as well.”
With the finals on December 6, there’s not much time for Nintendo to change their mind. However, in the future, Slimy wants the developer to listen to the players and help grow the scene — not offer “support” that doesn’t help.
“We’d like Nintendo to support all of their grassroots communities actively, but if they are unable to do that, at minimum we’d like them to not continue their longstanding record of blocking community development and growth through C&Ds, threats, broken agreements, or discouragement of third-party community investors,” he said.