Nintendo comments on Smash World Tour 2022 cancellation, event organizers fire back
The ugly turn we knew was coming
Yesterday, organizers of the fan-run Smash World Tour announced that this year’s event had been cancelled. This was due to Smash World Tour reps being contacted by Nintendo, who said the team “could no longer operate” due to the lack of an official license. This decision by Nintendo to squash the tournament apparently came without any warning.
Following that surprise announcement, Nintendo has shared a statement with Kotaku on their decision. You can find that statement in full below.
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.
Not surprisingly, Smash World Tour organizers saw that statement from Nintendo and shared one of their own. As you might have guessed, this statement disputes a few points Nintendo makes. You can find the Smash World Tour statement in full below.
We did not expect to have to address this, but Nintendo’s response via Kotaku has been brought to our attention:
“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.”
We are unsure why they are taking this angle, especially in light of the greater statement and all that it contains.
To reiterate from the official statement:
“As a last ditch effort, we asked if we could continue running the Championships and the Tour next year without a license, and shift our focus to working with them in 2024. We alluded to how the last year functioned in that capacity, with a mutual understanding that we would not get shut down and focus on the future. We were told directly that those times were now over. This was the final nail in the coffin given our very particular relationship with Nintendo. This is when we realized it truly was all being shut down for real. We asked if they understood the waves that would be made if we were forced to cancel, and Nintendo communicated that they were indeed aware.”
To be clear, we asked Nintendo multiple times if they had considered the implications of canceling the Championships as well as next year’s Tour. They affirmed that they had considered all variables.
We received this statement in writing from Nintendo shortly after our call:
“It is Nintendo’s expectation that an approved license be secured in order to operate any commercial activity featuring Nintendo IP. It is also expected to secure such a license well in advance of any public announcement. After further review, we’ve found that the Smash World Tour has not met these expectations around health & safety guidelines and has not adhered to our internal partner guidelines. Nintendo will not be able to grant a license for the Smash World Tour Championship 2022 or any Smash World Tour activity in 2023.”
To be clear, we did not even submit an application for 2023 yet, the license application was for the 2022 Championships (submitted in April). Nintendo including all 2023 activity was an addition we were not even expecting. In our call that accompanied the statement, we asked multiple times if we would be able to continue to operate without a license as we had in years past with the same “unofficial” understanding with Nintendo. We were told point blank that those “times are over.” They followed up the call with their statement in writing, again confirming both the 2022 Championships and all 2023 activity were in the exact same boat.
I’m not sympathetic to the competitive scene either, but this is baffling from a community relations perspective. It’s like there are two different teams handling this stuff, one encouraging, one dismissive, and neither aware of what the other is doing. It’s not even a credible attempt at dishonesty since the SWT people obviously have a full paper trail. I am sympathetic to the underprepared NOA employees who now get to sort through yet another 2022 mess.
Something sticks out to me about this & its how Nintendo says it won't happen in 2023, and if SWT's statement of their statement is truthful, 2024 as well.
So they aren't even giving them a chance to change or adhere to whatever policies they're wanting to enforce? Or did they?
This is just weird. Feels like something is missing.
Take away a lot of it and it just looks like Nintendo is trying to squash another fan made tournament and makes me wonder what would happen if I tried to organize one in my town featuring Smash and maybe a couple other games.
They obviously want to protect their IP and their image. But they're also actively discouraging people playing their own game?? Just call it an unofficial fan tournament? I'm not part of the "FGC" but this is getting a bit exhausting even looking in from the outside. If it's that big of a deal, Nintendo needs to start making their own tournaments all around the country if they aren't going to let their fans do it. But we all know they won't and at best it's just going to be in a couple major cities. I think they have one now, but it's not enough for all the players here. Come on.
I want to know those health and safety policies. What are they finding they don't agree with?
There's a side of me that wonders how much this has to do with everything that happened in the summer of 2020. Super abridged version: a TON of prominent Smash players, commentators, and content creators got outted for things like sexual misconduct (including with minors), extortion, and racketeering/tournament fixing. It was really bad and I feel like the main course of action that happened was that those people were kicked out and the community adopted a "we will never speak of this again" attitude regarding the whole thing. This is why the Panda Cup even happening was such a shock to begin with, in my opinion.