Nintendo Shuts Down Smash World Tour Just Days Ahead Of Championship
A major fan-run Super Smash Bros. tournament has been shut down by Nintendo for unclear reasons, and it has grave implications for the Smash scene.
The Smash World Tour, a major Super Smash Bros. tournament and competitive circuit, has been unexpectedly shut down. The Smash World Tour championships were set for December 9 in Texas, with many top Smash players buying air fare and travel accommodations ahead of time. Instead, that event will not occur, along with the entirety of the 2023 circuit.
The organizers of the Smash World Tour--a group of fans unaffiliated with Nintendo--say that Nintendo told them "without any warning" that they would no longer be able to operate the night before Thanksgiving. The organizers also say that they'll be losing "hundreds of thousands of dollars" due to this shutdown.
In response, Nintendo told Kotaku that the company did not request any changes to the Smash World Tour 2022, and that the dispute was solely about the upcoming 2023 circuit. The SWT organizers responded with a statement from Nintendo that seems to show that the company declined to grant a license for the Smash World Tour Championship in 2022. Needless to say, certain facts are in dispute here, and it's not clear how this situation will ultimately shake out.
In a lengthy statement posted to Medium, the Smash World Tour organizers assert that Nintendo's new relationship with esports organization Panda Global has caused friction in the Smash community, with fans and players often wondering if the unofficial World Tour would be shut down as a result. As with the above situation, it's not clear how this cancellation will impact the Panda Cup.
Nintendo's approach to Smash as an esport has always been a bit shaky, even at the best of times, but this decision has the potential to overturn the entire scene. At least one other tournament organizer, VGBootCamp--which is a major part of the SWT--has canceled two upcoming in-person events as a result of this controversy, stating that the future of running major Smash tournaments is "uncertain."