Nintendo has shut down the third party Smash World Tour “without any warning”, according to organisers. They were told that they were no longer allowed to operate after growing the Tour for years to become one of the most recognised in the fighting game community.
The organisers announced on Medium that Nintendo had shut down the Smash World Tour without giving them a proper warning. The team behind the Smash World Tour have fostered a sizeable community in the fighting game scene, slowly growing the tournament over the years to become one of the biggest third party competitions of its kind.
As the Smash World Tour team put it:
“In 2022 alone, we connected over 6,400 live events worldwide, with over 325,000 in-person entrants, making the Smash World Tour (SWT, or the Tour) the largest esports tour in history, for any game title. The Championships would also have had the largest prize pool in Smash history at over $250,000. The 2023 Smash World Tour planned to have a prize pool of over $350,000.”
“Without any warning, we received notice the night before Thanksgiving from Nintendo that we could no longer operate,” said the organisers after receiving Nintendo’s shut down notice.
The organisers also stated that they’ll lose “hundreds of thousands of dollars” because of the sudden closure:
“We don’t know where everything will land quite yet with contracts, sponsor obligations, etc — in short, we will be losing hundreds of thousands of dollars due to Nintendo’s actions. That being said, we are taking steps to remedy many issues that have arisen from canceling the upcoming Smash World Tour Championships — Especially for the players. Please keep an eye out in the coming days for help with travel arrangements. Given the timeline that we were forced into, we had to publish this statement before we could iron out all of the details. All attendees will be issued full refunds.”
Things go a bit deeper in this story, though. The organisers allege that Nintendo were only running tournaments that had applied for official licenses – somethnig that SWT were unsuccessful in applying for. Nintendo had also teamed up with Panda Global to run officially licensed Smash tournaments for future events, though the SWT organisers claimed that Panda were undermining them to organisers of individual events under the World Tour’s umbrella, while Nintendo were only saying nice things to their faces.
A Nintendo spokeperson provided a response to Kotaku about these allegations:
“Unfortunately after continuous conversations with Smash World Tour, and after giving the same deep consideration we apply to any potential partner, we were unable to come to an agreement with SWT for a full circuit in 2023. Nintendo did not request any changes to or cancellation of remaining events in 2022, including the 2022 Championship event, considering the negative impact on the players who were already planning to participate.”
The SWT organisers quickly refuted this statement, however, stating “To be clear, we did not even submit an application for 2023 yet, the license application was for the 2022 Championships (submitted in April). Nintendo including all 2023 activity was an addition we were not even expecting.”
You can read the full developing story on Kotaku as the dispute appears to be ongoing between the Smash World Tour organisers and Nintendo.