Super Smash Bros. fans were disheartened to hear today that the Smash World Tour Championships 2022 has officially been canceled. The word came down today from organizers who posted a lengthy blog letting people know that the championship tournament, which was set to take place in San Antonio, Texas, from December 9th-11th, was officially dead in the water, along with the entire planned schedule for 2023. The reason for the cancelation? Nintendo decided to hit the organizers with a notice over Thanksgiving weekend that they would no longer be allowed to operate using their games. Specifically, Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the two games the event focused on.
As to the specific reason why Nintendo decided to send the notice just weeks before the final event, especially after allowing them to run the series throughout most of 2022, is unknown at this time. While we understand the games are their property and they have a say over whether or not they're used in any esports capacity, it seems like a bit of a jerk move to allow an organization to run events and build up to something major, only to force them to cancel it at the end. There is some discourse in the blog alluding to the idea that they felt strung along by Nintendo, tied to working with Panda Global (the officially licensed Smash. tournament host). While there's no email, audio recordings, or paperwork shown in the blog to back that up, it's kinda hard to deny this feels like the move was done to dishearten the group from trying another event and shake up the Smash community in the process with yet another canceled event. We have some snippets from the blog for you regarding what happens from here.
"On a logistics note, we will be reaching out to those affected by the canceling of the Smash World Tour Championships. As many of you know, we lost a significant amount of money in the first 18 months of SWT, this was truly a labor of love for us. We don't know where everything will land quite yet with contracts, sponsor obligations, etc — in short, we will be losing hundreds of thousands of dollars due to Nintendo's actions. That being said, we are taking steps to remedy many issues that have arisen from canceling the upcoming Smash World Tour Championships — Especially for the players. Please keep an eye out in the coming days for help with travel arrangements. Given the timeline that we were forced into, we had to publish this statement before we could iron out all of the details. All attendees will be issued full refunds."
"The truth is, what makes this all even more disappointing is the approach Nintendo took in recent weeks compared to our discourse with them over the past twelve months. We truly believed things were progressing positively for quite some time.We had kept all of this progress quiet, but especially in light of both Nintendo's and their partner Panda's actions this year, we wanted to take the opportunity to write an "open letter" to Nintendo, as we don't know how much the higher ups at Nintendo are even aware of the history and context of the last few years. In recent months, we have requested multiple times to communicate with them directly, but these requests were not granted."
"As a preface, we want to emphasize that there are some great people working at Nintendo who have been advocating for the Smash community and the Smash World Tour, even if that was not reflected in Nintendo's recent actions. Likewise, we have nothing but the utmost respect for Panda's team, players, ambassadors, employees, and contractors — many of which are our friends and are truly incredible people and, to our understanding, had little to zero knowledge of the damage Panda caused behind-the-scenes in the past year."