Nintendo has an odd relationship with the competitive Smash Bros. community. Whereas most publishers celebrate their fighting games with as many tournaments as possible, Nintendo has actively shut down tournaments for using mods that improved Smash Bros. online capabilities. Most recently, Nintendo has pulled support entirely for Smash Bros in the next EVO tournament and provided no explanation for the pull-out.
It seems Nintendo doesn’t even want others to help the Smash Bros. community either. Ninja recently revealed that Nintendo “ghosted” him when he tried to donate $500,000 to the EVO 2019 Smash Bros. tournament prize pool.
"All I wanted to do was create a massive tournament," said Ninja during a poker stream with YouTuber Ludwig (via Nintendo Life). "I literally wanted to just juice EVO $500,000. I wanted to get Nintendo's permission, and they just ghosted us."
Ludwig and other streamers pontificated on Nintendo’s odd behavior when it comes to the Smash Bros. community. Most of it can be summarized with Smash’s netcode problems, which became a hot-button issue thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. In-person tournaments don’t mind the fact Smash Bros. Ultimate (and all previous Smash Bros. games as well) have terrible netcode which makes playing competitively online almost impossible. Rollback netcode, the standard for modern fighting games, goes a long way to smoothing out the jagged bumps that connection issues can bring to an online-only tournament, but when various tournaments started using a mod that added rollback netcode for their tournaments, Nintendo shut them all down.
Nintendo pulling out of EVO 2022 is even more surprising because the tournament was set to return to in-person matches. It could be that Nintendo simply didn’t want to associate itself with a tournament that’s now owned by Sony, or it might still be attempting to distance itself from 2020’s sexual abuse scandal.
Just about the only support Nintendo is offering the pro Smash community now comes through Panda Global thanks to a new Smash Bros. circuit announced last November. That circuit is now well underway with tournaments set throughout 2022.
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