Smash World Tour canceled, Nintendo explains, SWT questions the motive
posted Sunday Dec 4, 2022 by Scott Ertz
This week has seen the Super Smash Bros. competitive eSports community fall into disarray. It was announced that the Smash World Tour 2022 championship and the entire 2023 event would be canceled effective immediately. This left players who were attending the 2022 event with expenses already paid out the money and without the ability to complete their season. However, the situation is a lot more complex than it seems from the outside.
What is Smash World Cup?
Smash World Tour (SWT) was a major unified circuit for Super Smash Bros. players in 2021 and beyond, allowing them to compete against each other to earn points that could be used towards qualifying for the year-end finale. This event was highly anticipated by many in the Super Smash Bros. community, as it offered an unprecedented level of unity and organization within the scene.
What happened with Nintendo?
Unfortunately, Nintendo was not willing to offer SWT a license to host Super Smash Bros. events which ultimately led to the cancellation of the 2022 finals and 2023 tour. After a couple of days, Nintendo finally addressed the situation, saying,
Nintendo's decision was solely based on our assessment of the proposals submitted by the SWT and our evaluation of their unlicensed activities. This decision was not influenced by any external parties such as Panda Global. Any partner that we grant a license to has to meet the high standards we require when it comes to the health and safety of our fans. It's also important that a partner adheres to brand and IP guidelines and conducts itself according to professional and organizational best practices. We use this same approach to independently assess all partners. If we discover that a partner is doing something inappropriate, we will work to correct it.
When we notified the SWT that we would not license their 2022 or 2023 activities, we also let them know verbally that we were not requiring they cancel the 2022 finals event because of the impact it would have on players. Thus, the decision to cancel the SWT 2022 was, and still is, their own choice.
How does Panda Global fit in?
Although Panda Global was not directly involved with Nintendo's decision, Panda Global's Panda Cup event was working with Nintendo in an official capacity. The Panda Cup has become increasingly popular due to its ability to foster competition amongst some of the best Super Smash Bros. talent around the world.
However, the organizers of Smash World Tour claim that there's more to the story than Nintendo's comments relay. If true, it would explain a lot of what is going on with an event that has had support from Nintendo in the past. SWT organizers claim that the team behind Panda Global has been sabotaging the efforts of SWT privately. The claim is that Panda Global has been telling partners and sponsors that the SWT event was going to be canceled, before anyone should have known, in an effort to discourage those partners and sponsors from participating.
It's interesting to note that Nintendo said that the 2022 finals were not part of this negotiation, meaning that SWT canceled that one on their own. It leaves you wondering why, unless there is something happening behind the scenes. This kind of attack from a competitor to their sponsors could definitely explain why they decided to pull the plug on 2022 anyway.
What does this mean for the future?
If these allegations are true, it brings a couple of major topics into the spotlight. First, how did Panda Global know that Smash World Tour was going to get canceled before that information was public? Did they just make a lucky guess? Did they make it up completely? Or, did someone at Nintendo possibly give them a heads-up before announcing it officially? If Nintendo did give them a head start on information, why?
Second, what kind of organization would try to destroy a healthy competitor with these kinds of dirty tactics? We know that the eSports industry can be mean and dirty, but this underhanded and terrible. If the allegations turn out to be correct, Panda Global is going to have a lot to answer for, and possibly Nintendo, as well.