Nintendo & Panda Global slammed after Smash World Tour forced to shut down

Smash World Tour 2022 has been canceled after Nintendo's partnership with Panda.Smash World Tour/Nintendo

The Smash World Tour tournament series finally returned to LAN action in 2022 but now Nintendo has forced the company to cancel just weeks before the finals.

Smash World Tour finals were set to kick off on December 9 in San Antonio, Texas, but now the organizer has revealed Nintendo contacted them and informed them the event could not go on as expected.

“Nintendo expects us to only operate with a commercial license, and that we would not be granted one for the upcoming Championships, or any activity in 2023,” the tournament host’s statement read.

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Fans slam Nintendo and Panda after Smash World Tour cancelation

This news set Twitter alight and fans did not hold back when discussing how frustrated they’ve been over Nintendo’s treatment of the competitive Smash scene.

“It’s crazy how many times this community naively puts their trust into Nintendo only to get beat down again and again and again and again,” one commenter said.

“This is actually depressing man… They truly are the worst company for trying to stop a fan base that loves their games legally!” another fan chimed in.

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LD from Beyond The Summit has also revealed Alan Bunney from Panda Globa, another tournament organizer, sent messages to other TOs hinting this would happen if they didn’t participate in the upcoming Nintendo-licensed Panda Cup.

“Alan spent several months basically running a protection racket telling TOs including BTS ‘it’d be a shame if your event got shutdown for being unlicensed’ in an effort to scare them into signing onto the Cup,” they said.

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Allegedly, this “directly contradicted conversations with Nintendo.” Having taken this issue up directly with Nintendo, the publisher responded by saying they’re only “looking to shutdown IP infringement related to game mods, not the unlicensed Smash World Tour.”

“They reminded us that Nintendo’s goal was not to gatekeep or trap the community, and that license guidelines would be accessible and clear.”

In reaction, Smash pro Sparg0 has threatened to boycott that event altogether: “Unbelievable how hundreds of people will be affected by this. Most likely skipping Panda Cup.”

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“I will never attend a publicly licensed Nintendo or Panda Circuit event ever again,” AidenCalvin said on Twitter. “This is so extraordinarily disgusting and disheartening.”

In a longer statement shared on social media, he called out Nintendo for not only a lack of support over the years, but for directly ‘impeding’ the scene’s “ability to succeed and grow.

“They have done absolutely nothing substantial to help the community at any point.”

“I personally won’t ever watch, support, or attend a Panda-organized or broadcasted event ever again,” ex-Beyond The Summit creative director Ken Chen said.

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“Literally the only tourney I still wanted to play at. Very sad news,” T1 star MkLeo added.

Nintendo themselves came forward with a statement — not to SWT organizers directly, but Kotaku. In it, the company said: “Unfortunately after continuous conversations with Smash World Tour, and after giving the same deep consideration we apply to any potential partner, we were unable to come to an agreement with SWT for a full circuit in 2023.

“Nintendo did not request any changes to or cancellation of remaining events in 2022, including the 2022 Championship event, considering the negative impact on the players who were already planning to participate.”

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Organizers disputed the publisher’s claim, stating they had not even submitted an application for 2023. They also submitted the license for the 2022 Championships in April.

“Nintendo including all 2023 activity was an addition we were not even expecting,” SWT added.

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