In what is completely shocking news for the competitive Smash community, Nintendo of America had announced they’re collaborating with esports team Panda Global to bring an officially licensed Smash circuit for both Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Super Smash Bros. Melee in 2022.
Confirmed. Ready your A-game, Super #SmashBros competitors. We've partnered with @PandaGlobal to launch the first officially licensed Super Smash Bros. championship circuit in North America, coming 2022! #SmashBrosUltimate #SmashBrosMelee https://t.co/3WKbEYrMH2
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) November 18, 2021
While NoA has sponsored Smash tournaments in the past, they’ve all been one and done affairs, and often focused on the most recent Smash release. The fact that they’re sponsoring an entire circuit, and that the circuit includes Melee (a game whose community they have historically paid little support to competitively and more often issued DMCAs to) is a seismic shift for the company, especially in the wake of the #FreeSmash movement earlier this year.
Skepticism to the partnership is already rampant in the Smash community. While Panda Global has been a respected part of the community for years now, NoA’s rocky history with the competitive scene is making folks cautious. Details about things like prize pots, scheduling, and rulesets are forthcoming, and will likely shape the overall community reaction. Some, like top player Hungrybox, seem enthusiastic about the partnership, while others, like other top player Leffen, remain a bit more cautious. Time will tell how the chips fall, but hopefully a more collaborative and prosperous future awaits for both parties.
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