That extra $500,000 would have certainly made Evo more interesting
Although the competitive scene for Super Smash Bros. has flourished for over 20 years now, Nintendo’s track record for supporting the dedicated crowd has been slow, spotty and confusing for the vast majority of that time.
All the way back in 2018, professional Twitch streamer Ninja released a mysterious tweet suggesting he had something special in the works for the Smash community, and then nothing seemingly happened. Now, he’s finally broken his silence on the matter and what could have been.
While taking part in Ludwig’s recent poker stream, Ninja was pressed as to what he was actually planning with Smash.
According to the massive streamer, Ninja was going to drop an extra $500,000 of his own money into the prize pool for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate at Evo 2019 to make an even bigger spectacle of the tournament and show support for the scene.
Those plans fell through, however, allegedly because Nintendo stopped responding to Ninja after he posted his teaser tweet despite sounding initially interested.
“That was on Nintendo and not me,” explained Ninja as clipped by Daniel J. Collette. “It’s 100% absolutely the case. All I wanted to do was create a massive tournament and juice Evo like $500K, but I wanted to get Nintendo’s permission, and they just ghosted us.”
According to Ninja, Nintendo “seemed interested” and then ghosted him after he posted said tweet
Sounds like an easy cover story for Ninja to spin, but if it’s true then that was a mindblowingly huge offer for Nintendo to leave on the table
— Daniel J. Collette (@DanielJCollette) May 2, 2022
Obviously, this is all coming from only Ninja’s perspective on the situation, but anyone who’s been following the Smash community for any amount of time probably wouldn’t find this situation all that surprising.
Flash back to 2013 where Nintendo attempted to block Super Smash Bros. Melee from being streamed at Evo that year before eventually reversing course prior to the event taking place.
There are plenty of other examples over the years of Nintendo pulling official support for events with little warning, blocking or denying partnership deals, and even sending cease and desist letters to tournament organizers, which culminated in an anonymous letter being released in 2020 detailing a bunch of alleged actions the house of Mario took in stifling Smash Bros.-related tournaments.
How Nintendo Has Hurt the Smash Community
— anonymoussmasher (@anonymoussmash2) November 24, 2020
It would take until 2020 for the community to receive an officially sanctioned professional circuit in the Smash World Tour, which is not being managed by Nintendo, and now Panda Global is holding their own official Super Smash Bros. North America Circuit in 2022.
Even if Ninja would want to repeat that offer today, he couldn’t because Smash Ultimate will not be part of Evo 2022 by the decision of Nintendo — potentially due to the big fighting game event now being co-owned by one of their largest competitors in Sony.
The situation for the competitive Smash community is a lot better off than where it was just a few years ago, but much of that progress is thanks to the hard work of players and organizers to get recognition and support.
Nintendo’s overall handling of competitive gaming continues to lag behind just about everyone else in the fighting game community and video game industry pretty much as a whole, and that’s generally by design.
It’s going to be very interesting to see how Nintendo will continue to adapt and evolve over the coming years with relations to their most fervent fan bases, but at least things seem to be slowly improving.
Image via Ludwig.