Team Liquid Super Smash Bros. player Juan ‘HungryBox’ DeBiedma has called out Nintendo after winning a Smash Melee tournament – and implored them to “support the scene.”
Historically, there has always been somewhat of a disconnect between Nintendo and Super Smash Bros. esports, despite the wild success of the game and its competitive tournaments.
Where other developers support their titles with tournaments, leagues and prize pool as they seek to capitalize on the growth of esports, Nintendo has regularly steered clear of doing so, allowing the scene to work on and for itself rather than leading the competitive space, and this is something Hungrybox felt a need to address at Beyond the Summit 9.
After winning the event, he got on the mic and directly addressed Nintendo. “I really do wish, if anyone from Nintendo corporate is watching this… just give Melee a chance,” he said.
“Even if it’s just Ultimate, support the Ultimate scene, support the Smash scene in general,” the Smash star continued. “You have people streaming, making content, going to tournaments, and we do it all grassroots… Nintendo, I love you guys, but you’re the only one not putting resources into the scene.”
He then compared Smash to tournaments and games such as the Capcom Cup and Fortnite, saying that if they followed suit the “culture and appreciation that you guys see would be, bar none, unlike anything you’ve received.”
To a round of applause from everyone else in attendance, HBox called it a shot in the dark but begged Nintendo to “please support Smash tournaments,” clearly slightly emotional at the call for help and the events of the day.
2016 was the year that had the biggest prize pools for Smash Melee, totaling $674,477.69 across the year. Conversely, Smash Ultimate gave away just over $1m in 2019 which, while impressive, many would like to see grow, especially given the continued popularity of the scene throughout the years, with a viewership that exceeds some of the biggest esports.
Whether Nintendo responds to (or even see) HungryBox’s cry for help remains to be seen – plenty of players and community members have made similar statements in the past, and Nintendo seems to be more interested with Smash Ultimate, but they have some way to go match the likes of Valve and Riot Games when it comes to leading their esports space.