Nintendo Shuts Down Smash World Tour Finals
This year’s Smash Bros season has been exciting, with both the Smash World Tour and Panda Global running concurrently, giving us even more majors. Both were building towards finals this December. That’s not going to be the case anymore though. The news has just broken that Nintendo has cancelled the Smash World Tour Finals and the event in 2023. Although, some in the community are pointing towards Panda’s impact here too.
After a year of events, the biggest circuit in Smash Bros has been shut down. No Finals to crown a winner from this year’s events. No circuit next year. The entire tournament has been axed after an intervention from Nintendo.
Smash World Tour Finals Cancelled
The Smash World Tour is an unofficial event, but one that’s become the center of Smash Bros competition. While Nintendo has largely stayed uninvolved with Smash events prior to this season’s Panda Global. Cup, events like the Smash World Tour have filled that gap. This year they had one of the largest prizes ever at a Smash event, with plans to top it next year when the prize pool would hit $350,000. That was before Nintendo got involved.
The Smash World Tour organizers explain what’s happened:
“Without any warning, we received notice the night before thanksgiving from Nintendo that we could no longer operate. This was especially shocking given our discourse with Nintendo over the past twelve months. Since then, we have been working around the clock to take the proper steps logistically, as to prepare this statement with proper legal guidance.”
They continued that they’d been in touch with Nintendo on the 23rd, and had been told that Nintendo expects them to operate with a commercial license going forward, which they won’t grant for the Finals or any activity in 2023. Essentially leaving them unable to host events.
The organizers finished up with:
“It felt as though Nintendo simply did not want the Smash World Tour to continue to exist. At this point, we now felt we had been strung along this entire time.”
In short, The Smash World Tour is cancelled and this year’s events will have no conclusion. Neither will anything run in 2023. According to some organizers, this has just as much to do with Panda’s events as it does with Nintendo’s fickle attitude to esports.
Player and fan reactions
The reaction to the Smash World Tour finals getting cancelled has been, understandably, disappointment. Players have been shocked at this turn of events, but some have pointed out just how often this happened. With one user slotting it into a cycle of normal events in Smash Bros.
To some, Nintendo shutting things down is just another part of the game.
Literally the only tourney i still wanted to play at. Very sad news :( https://t.co/7rLDS7gHbb
— T1 | MkLeo (@Mkleosb) November 30, 2022
Players like MKLeo and Ludwig have chimed in with their disappointment over the Smash World Tour Finals getting cancelled too. VBGC has also spoken about their problems with majors like Glitch and Double Down. They’ve had to cancel some events after developments with Nintendo. Their statement does make clear they will be trying to run things in 2023, but it is looking difficult at the moment.
Why Cancel the Smash World Tour?
This year Nintendo has expanded in Smash Bros esports by getting involved with the Panda Global Cup. However, organizers who have been running things without Nintendo’s involvement are much more established. It’s far from the first time Nintendo has shut something down though. They’ve gotten involved in the Slippi online add-on through COVID which botched a lot of plans. They’re also likely responsible for Smash being absent from EVO for the foreseeable future.
From what other organizers have said though, this has as much to do with Panda as it does Nintendo. Another organizer weighed in:
LD – @LDeeepAlan 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. BTS will absolutely never participate in a circuit led by Alan.
This s pretty horrendous behaviour given how little Nintendo has done to build Smash bros esports and how much the community has. The idea of tournaments being shut down to give Panda closer to a monopoly over tournaments can only be bad for Smash bros.
Some have specifically called out the Panda connection even further, going as far as blaming them overall for the change.
At this point, it looks like Smash esports are going to be looking very different in the future. With fans left to see if Nintendo will be running an event next year, or if the days of larger circuits are behind us for the rest of Ultimate’s lifespan. While Nintendo is rarely one to cave to fan backlash, an organizer like Panda might be forced to.