In case you missed it, the international Smash World Tour championships for 2022 and the entire 2023 circuit got canned because Nintendo wouldn’t issue an official license for the organizers. Nintendo issued a statement attempting to clarify the situation, but it didn’t alleviate much. Part of the dramatic chain of events were allegations of actions taken by Panda Global and its CEO Alan that appeared to sabotage SWT’s attempt at a license. Panda put out their own statement late last week, but damage has been done and now players, commentators, and more are leaving Panda en masse.
I'm quitting panda.
I've truly enjoyed my time there, and they treated me well.
I know that, at a certain point, they had the community's best interests in mind. I just don't think I can support them anymore.
Now I must sleep for 1000 years in preparation for da next tournament
— Plub (@Panda_Plup) December 3, 2022
Good Morning. Thought about/slept on it. I too will be resigning from Panda.
Was gonna wait till I get home but I can talk about it more in depth later. That good feeling I had from being under this org and finally being sponsored feels erased with no chance of coming back.
— TKbreezy 🎙 (@TKbreezy) December 3, 2022
Talked about this on stream last night, but today I officially put in my resignation at Panda, effective 12/31. I'm still under contract for the Finale.
Panda offered me the opportunity to change my life and provide a future for my family, and for that I'm immensely grateful.
— CONEY (@CONEY) December 3, 2022
Leaving personalities include Plup, iBDW, Coney, TKBreezy, VikkiKitty, WaDi, and Saint Cola. Many others (including the legendary Justin Wong) have removed mentions of the company from their Twitter page. In addition, countless top Smash players unaffiliated with Panda announced they won’t be attending the Panda Cup Finale, including Hungrybox, SFAT, Axe, Mang0, aMSa, and more. In the wake of all this, the Finale has been postponed and Panda will be issuing refunds to all who registered. And the cherry on top? Alan the CEO has stepped down.
I've stepped down as CEO of Panda to protect the safety and wellbeing of the team.
My statement (with evidence) is coming. pic.twitter.com/LkousPo183
— Panda | Dr Alan (@DrAlanB) December 5, 2022
— Panda (@PandaGlobal) December 5, 2022
Lots of questions going on here. (Why didn’t he just stick those lines in the text of the tweet where they would fit if he wasn’t going to explain himself?) But it appears that the company built up meticulously over years and years of sponsorship and competition is crumbling to dust before our eyes. There will undoubtedly be more of this saga yet to unravel, but if anything, it’s clear that the grassroots organization of the Smash community is as strong as ever. We’ll have to wait for dust to settle before we see the direction the community takes, but surely it will be one of unity.
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