super smash bros on fire nintendo tournaments new guidelines

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‘The future of Smash Bros tournaments is in jeopardy’: Nintendo announces new rules for community esports events, and fans aren’t happy

The video game developer has a long history of fiercely protecting its IP, despite pleas from gamers to loosen up restrictions.


Steven Asarch


Posted on Oct 25, 2023


Nintendo has a complicated history with its grassroots competitive scenes, but the company has never sunk this low before. The Japanese developer behind some of the biggest mascots in all of video gaming released new guidelines on Tuesday for community tournaments using their games that go into effect on Nov. 15.

According to the new guidelines from Nintendo, tournaments can’t generate revenue, can only have 200 in-person or 300 online players, entry fees can’t be more than $20, and prize pools can’t be higher than $5,000. If these guidelines weren’t restrictive enough, tournaments can’t accept “goods, services, money, etc” from sponsors or sell “food, beverages, or merchandise.” Modified versions of games, like Project M or Slippi — which update the highly popular but outdated “Super Smash Bros Melee” — are entirely banned under Nintendo’s new guidelines. If you want to advertise your event, you also can’t put the names or logos of any Nintendo brands on your flyer, so people are just going to have to infer what they will be playing. 

For tournament organizers that want to run bigger events, like Super Smash Con and Genesis, which offer more than a $10,000 prize pool in 12 months, they’ll need to fill out a license form and get Nintendo’s approval. The forms won’t be available until November, and what parameters Nintendo will be looking for is still unclear …

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*First Published: Oct 25, 2023, 4:01 pm CDT