After years of fan-run tournament circuits, Nintendo is finally getting in on the world of Super Smash Bros. tournaments. The company announced today that it’s partnering with esports brand Panda Global to run a company-sanctioned tournament circuit for both Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and the two-decade old Super Smash Bros. Melee.
This is a somewhat surprising move for Nintendo, which for over two decades has kept the Super Smash Bros. competitive scene at an arm’s length, occasionally hosting bouts at events like E3, but not going so far as to manage its own competitive league.
Nintendo has recently become infamous for suing community-run tournaments into non-operation.
It’s also notable that Nintendo is supporting Panda Global not just for Smash Bros. Ultimate tournaments, but the older Melee as well. Melee remains incredibly popular in the Super Smash Bros. community, though it is not available for purchase or playable on newer Nintendo platforms.
Panda global will begin hosting tournaments for Super Smash Bros. in 2022. The circuit will feature a mix of in-person and online tournaments, as the world continues to navigate the complexities of the COVID-19 pandemic.