Nintendo of America posts new esports guidelines for 'Community Tournaments'

Nintendo's new Community Tournament rules could affect grassroots Smash Bros. and Splatoon tournaments worldwide.

Image via Nintendo

Smash Bros. and Splatoon players were shaken today to see new esports guidelines going out from Nintendo on “community tournament” rules in Japan and Europe, but Nintendo of America has officially posted a page on the guidelines. It seems the new tournament rules are indeed being enforced in North America as well, which could spell trouble for various tournament scenes utilizing Nintendo games.

Nintendo of America officially put up the Community Tournament guidelines on the North American support pages of its website. The rules are said to pertain to any individual organizer attempting to arrange a not-for-profit, small-scale tournament using Nintendo games. This includes events with up to, but not over 200 participants, with entry fees not exceeding $20 USD, and prizing not exceeding $5,000 in value in one event or $10,000 in a 12-month span. There are also other rules extending to prohibited use of Nintendo music or images beyond game screenshots and gameplay, and the strictly prohibited use of any modded version of Nintendo software, likely directly targeting popular apps like Project M and Slippi.

Nintendo's Community Tournament spectator and participant guidelines
Nintendo's Community Tournament guidelines not only have rules for organizers to adhere to, but also rules that the organizers must ensure spectators and participants follow.
Source: Nintendo of America

The Smash Bros. community has been in an uproar all day over the rules, even before they were confirmed to extend to the North American region. Under the stipulations, organizers must not only adhere to Nintendo’s new guidelines, but also ensure that participants and viewers adhere to those rules, including policing  “anything that Nintendo deems inappropriate.” Nintendo goes on to say that any organizer found to not adhere to its guidelines may be at risk of legal action:

Notable Smash Bros. community personalities like Hungrybox and other Smash Bros. event pro players and organizers have decried the move, but grassroots Splatoon tournaments also stand to be at risk if Nintendo’s rules aren’t observed.

As chaotic as Smash Bros. esports have been in the last few years, this latest move looks like it will make all remaining Nintendo esports scenes all the more difficult. Stay tuned as we continue to follow this story for further updates and details.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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