Smash World Tour 2022 Finals & 2023 events shut down over Nintendo licensing policy [UPDATED]
Timelines, licensing woes, and conflicts with Panda Global's CEO have seemingly led to the Tour being canceled indefinitely.
Updated (11/30/2022 @ 9:10 a.m. PT): In the time since Smash World Tour announced cancellation of its 2022 Finals and 2023 events, Nintendo issued a statement to Kotaku on the matter.
In turn, the Smash World Tour organizers released a follow-up statement sharing confusion at Nintendo's public statement on the matter, especially regarding the 2022 Finals:
It would appear that these various statements are at odds with one another on the matter of Smash World Tour 2022 Finals and whether or not the event was actually threatened with shutdown by Nintendo or whether Smash World Tour made that call itself in light of Nintendo's decisions. Stay tuned as we continue to follow this story with further updates.
Original Story: The Smash Bros scene has suffered a major loss today as the Smash World Tour 2022 Finals and 2023 events have been canceled. After an allegedly healthy relationship with Nintendo, the Smash World Tour team has announced it has been unsuccessful in acquiring a commercial license and as such will not be able to proceed with the events.
In a lengthy post on Medium on November 29, 2022, the Smash World Tour team announced the cancelation of Smash World Tour 2022 Finals and all 2023 events. In the post, the team breaks down the situation, highlighting the conversations with Nintendo prior to the shutdown, the conversations and alleged threats from Panda Global’s CEO, and ultimately the lack of commercial licensing which means the team could not continue with the events.
The team alleges that problems began to arise when Panda Global told potential partner events that they were going to get shut down and that they “were not coming back in 2022.” The post goes on in greater detail:
At first, Panda targeted events that were not on the Smash World Tour (including those who did not join because of the aforementioned warnings). A few of these events had broadcast deals with a popular tournament broadcaster, Beyond the Summit (BTS). The CEO of Panda wanted broadcasting rights to be included as part of the deal of the events joining the Panda Cup. Most of the events refused to break their contracts, so Panda approached Beyond the Summit directly to try to get the rights released.
BTS had very little motivation to give up the broadcast rights for free, so they declined to get involved, causing the CEO of Panda to escalate things quickly. We were told he made a variety of threats to Beyond the Summit, including shutting down their entire Smash operation in 2023 if they did not eventually join Panda Cup. After BTS held firm, the CEO of Panda warned that they would get Nintendo directly involved, putting broadcast rights for all tournaments in jeopardy.
LD from Beyond the Summit took to Twitter to corroborate the story in a series of Tweets.
VGBC has been a pillar of the Smash community for over a decade, and as a fellow TO, it's absolutely gut-wrenching to see the SWT get rug-pulled basically a week before their biggest event ever.— LD (@LDeeep) November 29, 2022
In one of the latest calls with Nintendo, the Smash World Tour team notes that Nintendo “expects us to only operate with a commercial license,” but that the company would not be granting one for the upcoming events. This information was also issued in writing.
Despite playing by the rules and not infringing on Nintendo’s IPs in terms of game modification, it would appear that Smash World Tour has ended for the foreseeable future. Nintendo and Panda Global have yet to comment on the situation. Stay tuned to Shacknews as we bring you the latest on this story.
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