Nintendo has finally broken its deafening silence in regards to finally supporting the Super Smash Bros esports scene after shutting down countless events over the years.
Smash Bros and Nintendo have had a rocky relationship over the years with the Japanese gaming behemoth never truly embracing its grassroots competitive scene.
We’ve seen Nintendo shut down EVO tournaments and even The Big House’s pandemic-era iteration because it would be using a modded version of Melee for online play.
Now, Nintendo has decided to support esports by partnering with Panda Global for the Panda Cup, but getting to this point has been a long time coming.
Nintendo explains difficulties with Smash esports
In an interview with IGN, Nintendo’s Bill Trinen delved into the issues the company has had with esports and how its partnership with Panda is a way to rectify that.
“We love the grassroots community, we want to see it thrive, we want to see it be strong, but we as Nintendo have our own internal challenges,” Trinen explained.
“For example, if we run into issues where people are trying to do things that aren’t using the brand in a way that’s appropriate, that can be a challenge for us. If people are either not engaging with us or are maybe engaging with us without giving us enough time to be able to work through some of those questions or requests, that becomes a challenge.”
According to Trinen, this is exactly why Nintendo chose to work with Panda, citing their years of experience as an organization.
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Why did Nintendo partner with Panda for Smash
“They’ve been around for a number of years and have been a part of that. But what it does bring is it brings a place where those grassroots tournaments can find a home,” he added.
The Panda Cup finale is scheduled for December 16-18 in Los Angeles and will feature a $100,000 prize pool for both Melee and Ultimate. 32 finalists are currently qualifying through their placements at numerous events plus five who will be selected in a panel.
Trinen also noted how Nintendo is a partner and not a sponsor, explaining how by licensing the circuit, Panda is the “only officially licensed Super Smash Bros circuit that there is.” This means Nintendo is able to assist with production, promotion, and other opportunities.
Nintendo is also looking to support Panda more in the future through additional events, but there is nothing on the table as of yet.
“We’re still looking at what the future holds and where we might try to put some of those tournaments and what tournaments Nintendo may be looking at running versus what Panda may do on its own for Panda Cup or how the two of those may mix together,” he revealed.
Still, for fans of competitive Smash, having Nintendo actually embrace the Melee and Ultimate scenes is a big deal and hopefully, there is a lot more to come in this new era.