Nintendo and Battlefly are teaming up once more to bring the next generation of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate players onto the pro stage.
Renewing their 2019 partnership, the two companies will again tackle online events hosted on Battlefy’s competitive tournament platform, while Nintendo helps tournament organizers promote their events on official channels, according to an Esports Insider report.
The first event to spring from this deal will come as early as February 29, with the first few regions kicking off the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate North American Online Open Spring 2020.
Four finalists in the Open will be eligible to win a trip to the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 1v1 Singles event at CEO Dreamland 2020 in Orlando Florida, along with prize packages including “four nights lodging and round-trip airfare, and a $350 Visa gift card.”
The prizing isn’t lucrative, but the collaboration is a continued effort between the two groups to build up the Smash amateur scene.
“Our goal is to create an open online series in which anyone in North America can compete with a chance to gain access to the biggest live events like EVO and Genesis 7,” Battlefy General Manager Yohan Sengamalay said. “We’re incredibly excited about the future of the Super Smash Bros. Open in 2020.”
This news comes just after Super Smash Bros. Melee pro Juan ‘HungryBox’ DeBiedma called out Nintendo to “support the scene” after his Beyond the Summit 9 win.
Unlike a lot of esports in the fighting game community (FGC), Nintendo’s history of supporting the competitive environment around their popular title has been minimal to absent for a long time.
“Even if it’s just Ultimate, support the Ultimate scene, support the Smash scene in general,” Hungrybox said. “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.”
Nintendo’s 2019 partnership with Battlefy came under similar scrutiny from professionals in the scene, since the tournaments from the deal are largely played online, use rulesets that don’t translate to major events, and lack meaningful prizes.
While the renewed partnership looks like it will follow a pattern to last year’s deal, Nintendo and Battlefy are aiming to provide a pipeline for amateurs to get to the pro stage.
It remains to be seen if Nintendo will expand its support for Super Smash Bros. esports in 2020 by taking a more immediate role in the scene – a direction that would be welcomed by pros and fans alike.