The organizers of the Smash World Tour say that Panda Global was harmful to them and that Nintendo’s actions cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Panda Global is the partner for the first official Super Smash Bros. tournament. They have been accused as one of the reasons behind the cancellation of two events. One would have been the Smash World Tour Championship in San Antonio, Texas, from December 9-11, and the other would have been the 2023 Smash World Tour (a grassroots eSports championship). On Medium , the team says they are now working on the logistics and full refunds and will also help with the accommodation situation. Nintendo has requested the cancellation of the Smash World Tour (from now on, just SWT) without any warning, and it came as a shock to them as they have been assured of support from the Japanese company during dialogues throughout the year.
According to SWT, estimating how many organizers, players, and fans are affected is difficult, but the financial impact will be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The organizers are not just blaming Nintendo, as Panda Global has been talking to potential partners about SWT shutting down. They even contacted the big N about the attempted sabotage, to which they were told that the official partnership was not exclusive and that it was still possible to run the event. Still, Panda Global did not stop its damaging comments, as its CEO kept talking about SWT not happening this year.
“Unfortunately, after continuous conversations with Smash World Tour, and after giving the same deep consideration we apply to any potential partner, we could not agree with SWT for a full circuit in 2023. Nintendo did not request any changes to or cancellation of remaining events in 2022, including the 2022 Championship event, considering the negative impact on the players who were already planning to participate,” a Nintendo spokesperson told Kotaku.
SWT’s organizers had asked to continue (as they have in the past) without a license before working with Nintendo again in 2024 but were told that those days were over. SWT had over 6,400 live events and 325,000 participants in 2022 alone, making it one of the biggest eSports tournaments for the Super Smash Bros. franchise. The December tournament would have had a prize pool of $250k, and in 2023 that would have been increased to over $350k.
Nintendo took Super Smash Bros. away from EVO, the biggest fighting game world championship, earlier this year. Still, the Japanese company has cracked down on grassroots eSports championships, especially when their games have been modified… but SWT did no such thing!