The Smash World Tour, an independently run Smash Bros tournament has been cancelled, and the organizers have accused rival tournament organizers Panda Global of being behind it.
In a statement, they announced that the Smash World Tour Championship 2022 as well as the 2023 circuit would be cancelled, citing influence from the Panda Global team.
“Without any warning, we received notice the night before Thanksgiving from Nintendo that we could no longer operate. This was especially shocking given our discourse with Nintendo the past twelve months. Since then, we have been working around the clock to take the proper steps logistically, as well as to prepare this statement with proper legal guidance”, the organizers say.
The discourse described paints a picture of how they were looking to get the Smash World Tour officially licensed with Nintendo, with the organizers saying Nintendo were keen for the event to co-exist alongside the officially partnered Panda Cup.
However, according to the statement, Nintendo’s official partner, Panda Global, began telling organizers of participating events that the World Tour’s days were numbered, as well as threatening broadcasters like Beyond The Summit with shutdowns if they did not comply with their demands.
This has been corroborated by Beyond The Summit founder David Gorman, who described the situation as being akin to a protection racket.
“[Panda CEO] Alan spent several months basically running a protection racket telling TOs including BTS “It’d be a shame if your event got shutdown for being unlicensed” in an effort to scare them into signing onto the Cup. BTS will absolutely never participate in a circuit led by Alan”, he said on Twitter.
We’ve reached out to Panda Global for comment regarding the accusations, and will update when they respond.
Several notable figures of the FGC have chimed in with distaste for the current state of the Smash Bros scene, such as Lasengle’s Yoshinori Ono.
“Since this is coming from the SWT side, I can’t make an equal judgment,but it’s my personal opinion that it’s not right to put restrictions on grassroots activities at this point. I think there were many ways to do this,such as treating it as sub-tournament of official tournament”, he says.
The competitive Smash Bros scene has been through a lot over the past year- the Smash series was absent from this year’s EVO, with the decision being announced around the time Nintendo revealed their partnership with Panda Global.