An anonymous Super Smash Bros community insider has detailed several ways in which Nintendo has allegedly "hurt" the Smash Bros esports community. The note has been corroborated by multiple prominent Smash Bros streamers and content creators.
What is the anonymous Smash Bros insider saying?
This news comes from Twitter user @anonymoussmash2, who posted the lengthy note on TwitLonger. The note's writer says they are choosing to remain anonymous for "obvious reasons". According to the writer, Nintendo has "deliberately [prevented] other entities [besides itself] from helping our scene through various actions, or inaction". The writer lists a number of third-party entities that have attempted to build an esports relationship with Nintendo, only to be scuppered by the Japanese gaming giant in some way.
The anonymous writer specifically points to incidents involving Eleague, HTC, ESL, and MLG. All of these organizations attempted to build Super Smash Bros events or tournaments, but were met with indifference or hostility from Nintendo. There's also an anecdote regarding the Sundance Festival being unable to get streaming rights from Nintendo, an area in which the gaming giant is notorious for being difficult to deal with. Other organizations that have fallen afoul of Nintendo's alleged refusal to engage with the Super Smash Bros community include Redbull and Twitch.
According to the anonymous insider, Twitch had been in negotiations with Nintendo to run an officially-sanctioned Smash circuit since 2015. An agreement was made between the two companies, but Nintendo reneged on said agreement in 2018 when Super Smash Bros Ultimate launched, saying the planned official circuit "no longer made sense" in light of the Smash Bros Ultimate launch. The insider says all of this means Nintendo "doesn't want Smash esports to happen" but that the company "[allows] people to think it will".
The note contains a number of other allegations, too, including suggesting that Nintendo is profiting from grassroots Smash esports in the form of marketing and word-of-mouth. The note's writer says Nintendo wouldn't work with the Smash scene over its support of Brawl modification Project M, upon which streamers dropped Project M from their streams in hope of Nintendo reaching out, an eventuality that never occurred. Additionally, esports teams have supposedly been dropping Super Smash Bros players due to a lack of support for esports events from Nintendo.
What does the Smash scene think of these allegations?
A number of Smash Bros community members have corroborated these allegations. Pro Smash player Adam Lindgren says the note is "very accurate", while Twitch Smash ambassador Blur calls the anonymous insider's allegations "remarkably well-researched". A staffer from esports organization Beyond the Summit replied to the tweet saying "one day everyone including me will be able to spill all possible beans". There's also a tweet from tournament organizer @DotZeb which simply includes the original tweet accompanied by the hashtag #SaveSmash.
This isn't the first we've heard of Nintendo being recalcitrant when it comes to Smash. Last week, the company shut down a Smash Bros tournament due to its use of an online play mod for emulators. In the past, Nintendo has been hostile towards streamers and content creators, too, although its policy has somewhat softened in recent years. According to Smash personality Ludwig Ahgren, Nintendo was intending to take legal action against Smash tournament Smash World Tour. According to Ahgren, Smash World Tour was not canceled due to COVID-19, as was previously stated, but because the CEO of the tournament had pulled out at Nintendo's request with the threat of legal action hanging over the tournament.
We'll have to wait and see what effect, if any, this will have on the Smash esports scene and Nintendo's relationship with it. Nintendo has a history of being fiercely protective over its IP, and in this case, that protectionism has placed it at odds with an enthusiastic but frustrated grassroots esports scene that just wants to play its game. It seems to me that Nintendo simply doesn't understand the value of Smash Bros to its community, and if that's the case, it's a sad indictment of the company's inability to engage with this vital aspect of its fandom.
What do you think about these Smash Bros allegations? Let us know in the comments below!