Smash Bros. pro calls out Nintendo for not supporting competitive scene – Metro.co.uk

Super Smash Bros. professional player and tournament winner HungryBox wants Nintendo to support the series’ competitive scene.

Whereas a lot of people are content to enjoy the Super Smash Bros. games as manic, multiplayer madness, where victory can often be decided by pure chance, there is a large number of players that play it as a serious, traditional fighter.

Since the days of Super Smash Bros. Melee on the GameCube these players have organised their own professional tournaments and one such pro player, Juan ‘HungryBox’ DeBiedma, used his victory at a recent Melee tournament to call out Nintendo for not supporting the competitive scene.

‘I really do wish, if anyone from Nintendo corporate is watching this… just give Melee a chance,’ said the YouTuber and streamer, ‘Even if it’s just Ultimate, support the Ultimate scene, support the Smash scene in general. You have people streaming, making content, going to tournaments, and we do it all grassroots… Nintendo, I love you guys, but you’re the only one not putting resources into the scene.’

Unlike most publishers, Nintendo has regularly distanced itself from the esports scene. This is quite the contrast when compared to the likes of Epic Games, with its Fortnite tournaments, and Capcom, which has hosted its own Street Fighter tournament, Capcom Cup, since 2013.

Street Fighter 5: Champion Edition screenshot

Street Fighter tournaments have been held by Capcom itself (pic: Capcom)

HungryBox stated that if Nintendo followed the examples set by Capcom and others, then ‘the appreciation [it] would receive would be, bar none, unlike anything [it’s] ever received.’

When it comes to prize money, Smash Bros.’ offerings do seem paltry compared to its peers. HungryBox won nearly £23,000 at a Melee tournament in 2017, whereas there have been Fortnite champions who have gone home with over £1 million.

Up till now the only esports scene Nintendo has actively encouraged is Splatoon 2, although even that stopped around the same time as the new updates last year.

Given how popular competitive Smash is, Nintendo could stand to benefit from officially supporting it. If it did, though, it would most definitely focus on Ultimate due to it being the most recent entry, with still six more characters to be added down the line.

However, Nintendo doesn’t really have any obligation to do so. Smash Bros. series director Masahiro Sakurai has expressed his own disinterest with the idea of competitive play, saying that ‘The philosophy behind them doesn’t go in line with Nintendo’s philosophy in that some of these players are playing for the prize money… it comes to a point where they’re playing the game for the money, and I feel that kind of direction doesn’t coincide with Nintendo’s view of what games should be.’

Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukuwa has also talked about this in the past, saying that Nintendo isn’t opposed to the idea of esports; it simply doesn’t view it as a priority, ‘So that our games can be widely enjoyed by anyone regardless of experience, gender, or age, we want to be able to participate in a wide range of different events. Our strength, what differentiates us from other companies, is this different worldview, not an amount of prize money.’

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is available on Nintendo Switch.

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