Within the realm of gaming related industries over the past decade or so, few have grown so well known and prosperous compared to eSports – the spectacle of watching the greatest players in the world duke it out for the title of greatest. While the idea of competitive gaming has been around much longer (since at least Street Fighter II, if not longer), it’s only with the rise of highly marketable titles like League of Legends and Dota 2 that the industry has become profitable. And it appears that Nintendo may be looking into exploring the eSports market for itself, according to a piece from pvplive.net.

Anonymous sources revealed that Nintendo has been in talks with several eSports affiliated organizations at least as far back as Dreamhack Austin in May of this year. The discussion was not limited to only American teams and sponsors, either – European and Japanese organizations were also brought into the fold. Teams named in the discussion include TSM, Team Liquid, Immortals, and G2 (who all already have at least one sponsored Smash player) as well as Fnatic, NaVi and SK. It can be assumed that other big eSports teams like Cloud9 or NRG are also involved in the discussion. All of these organizations declined to comment.

Sources named Splatoon as a “test run” for a competitive game – which, given the game’s focus on competitive multiplayer, Nintendo run tournaments in America and Europe, and the role of the game in an eSports style of arena during the Nintendo Switch trailer, makes sense. Super Smash Bros. and Pokkén Tournament were also named as potential areas of interest.

Splatoon-SplatZones

Two things are worth noting here. For one, Nintendo has already been sponsoring tournaments in each of those games for some time: Splatoon and Pokkén since their respective launches, and Smash since early 2015. That said, these sponsorships have been mainly minor logistical roles, as many contests are still community-organized. The other note of interest is that there is an evident fanbase for each of these games – particularly Smash, which drew over 230,000 viewers for Melee Grand Finals at EVO this year. If Nintendo can properly capitalize on this already present fanbase, then it has the potential to reap many rewards. We’ll be sure to let you know when more news on the matter breaks.

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Written by Amelia Fruzzetti

A writer and Nintendo fan based in Seattle, Washington. When not working for NinWire, she can be found eating pasta, writing stories, and wondering about when Mother 3 is finally going to get an official localization.

Amelia Fruzzetti