Nintendo has found themselves in the middle of a new controversy, this time around involving the eSports community surrounding their online multiplayer game Splatoon 2.
The controversy began last night, when official tournament organizers from the Splatoon 2 North American Open event informed players and fans that the livestream for the event would be cancelled. Though the event, which began on December 5th, would still take place, the sudden cancellation of the livestream has led many to believe it was due to many of the top teams participating in the event expressing their support for the Super Smash Bros. competitive community.
Nintendo has been recently going after the Smash. Bros competitive community over the use of mods for Super Smash Bros Melee and Ultimate. Nintendo has sent several cease and desist letters to organizers of the Big House Tournament for using a mod called Slippi, which would allow for online play for the games with several matchmaking features with emulated copies of the game. Nintendo has been notoriously protective with Super Smash Bros. to the point where members in the competitive scene have expressed great frustrations over their decisions over the past few years.
It was reported by Splatoon 2 tournament organizer, commentator, and a competitive player known as SlimyQuagsire that about 30% of the teams at the tournament had names expressing support for Smash Bros.
Slimy, a commentator for EndGame.TV, alleges that the reason the stream was shut down was due to the Smash Bros. support. "Kind of funny that they'll sever their own "support" that they love to parade around as something so fantastic, just because the Splatoon community wanted to stand in solidarity with the other scenes that Nintendo outright harms." he stated publicly on twitter, before writing down two hashtags, #FreeMelee and #SaveSmash.
Thousands of Splatoon 2 fans and members of the competitive community then adopted the two hashtags, along with #FreeSplatoon, in protest of the decision to cancel the Livestream, and all of them have been trending on Twitter, on and off.
While there is no definitive proof of Nintendo cancelling the livestream over Super Smash Bros, members of the Splatoon community decided to create their own, unofficial event today with the top four teams in North America. EndGame TV would be responsible for the event, hosting it on on their Twitch channel, nicknamed The Squid House. There, a grassroots tournament would be held between the top four teams, with a prize pool supplied by donations by the Splatoon 2 community.
The community would eventually raise over $28,000 in the few hours of the tournament for the first-place team, the largest prize pool in Splatoon history, won by the North American champions FTWaveDash. The prizepool was capped at $25,000, with any extra money going to charity.
Nintendo, for their part, have been quiet throughout the whole controversy at this time, and the North American Open finished with most of the remaining teams participating.