Splatoon 2 Tournament Livestream Canceled After Players Protest Smash Bros Tournament Cancelation
"FreeSplatoon" is now trending on Twitter as fans protest Nintendo's handling of tournaments and fan organizations.
In November, a major Super Smash Bros. online tournament was canceled after a cease and desist from Nintendo, which took issue with the tournament's use of the "Slippi" mod to play Super Smash Bros. Melee--a game released for the GameCube in 2001, and never re-released--online. Now, the controversy over that decision has spilled over into the competitive Splatoon 2 scene.
Heading into the December 5-7 weekend, Nintendo was advertising the upcoming Splatoon 2 North American Open on its Twitter channels, and promising a livestream. However, on the day, the stream was canceled, with a Discord announcement (screenshotted in this Reddit thread) not providing many details for what was happening.
Fans and players are pretty sure they know what happened, though. As commentator Slimy points out, about 30% of players in the competition had "FreeMelee", or similar, in their usernames. It's likely, although unconfirmed, that Nintendo canceled the livestream because of this.
So the Splatoon community, in support of the Smash community, has 30% of the top teams in this weekend's Spl2 NA Open with Team names in support of Melee and Smash.— Slimy (@SlimyQuagsire) December 5, 2020
So what does @NintendoAmerica @NintendoVS do in response?
They cancelled their livestream for tomorrow's Finals.
As a result, "#FreeSplatoon" is now trending on Twitter.
Nintendo's track record on esports and tournaments is not the best--Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the best-selling fighting game of all time, was removed from the EVO Online line-up after the physical event was canceled, as the Switch's online infrastructure is not considered good enough to support a professional fighting tournament. EVO Online would ultimately be canceled over sexual misconduct allegations.
It remains to be seen if Nintendo will address its perception among pro players on its own system in the future.
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