For quite a long time, multiple major fighting games have been featured on the WePlay esports tournament platform. It has served as a suitable ground for a number of online tournaments hosted throughout games like Mortal Kombat 11, Tekken 7, Soulcalibur 6, and more. That said, recent activity has forced Bandai Namco and NetherRealm to pull back support for the platform. Both announced today that they would be severing ties with WePlay altogether.
Both NetherRealm and Bandai Namco announced their decisions via their respective Twitter accounts on April 30, 2021. Both companies expressed a difference in vision and professional standards that meant they would be unable to work with WePlay in the future. While it was not explicitly stated in either statement, both companies’ decisions to cut ties with WePlay follows closely on the heels of WePlay’s recent announcement that it would be partnering with known gambling site xBet through 2021. While gambling is a touchy subject already in esports, xBet in particular also has an alleged history of questionable business practices that have resulted in it not being able to operate in the United Kingdom and being the subject of ongoing embezzlement, criminal, and other regulatory investigation in Russia.
Bandai Namco and NetherRealm’s decisions to pull support and activity from WePlay means games like Mortal Kombat 11, Tekken 7, Soulcalibur 6, Dragon Ball FighterZ, and more will no longer be officially supported on the site. With many of those titles still being regular marquee events of FGC esports, it stands as a major blow to the WePlay platform's presence in fighting game esports. Much of the platform’s more recent fighting game tournaments and events were dominated by the likes of Tekken, Soulcalibur, and Mortal Kombat.
Nonetheless, a partnership with xBet is likely problematic to many esports organizations to say the least. With NetherRealm and Bandai Namco having officially severed ties with WePlay, it will remain to be seen if other major publishers or organizations follow suit. Stay tuned as we continue to monitor this story for further updates and information.