A surreal announcement years in the making.
eSports Company Panda Global announced today that they're teaming up with Nintendo for a Super Smash Bros. tournament circuit in 2022.
The circuit bills itself as the first circuit to be officially licensed by Nintendo in North America. Though few details were given, Panda Global founder Alan Bunney said on Twitter that he hopes this circuit will be "the first brick of the foundation that becomes the future." The event will have guaranteed cash prizes and includes both Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Nintendo's relationship with the competitive Super Smash Bros. community has largely been hands-off over the years, with their involvement being limited to sponsoring community-run tournaments. Last year, Nintendo made the controversial decision to send cease & desist orders to tournaments using the Melee mod Project Slippi, leading to Smash players starting a "#FreeMelee" Twitter hashtag campaign. Juan "Hungrybox" Debiedma, one of the top professional Smash Bros. players, described Panda Global's announcement as "the first time in years" that Nintendo has supported the competitive Melee community.
We are proud to announce our partnership with @NintendoAmerica— Panda (@PandaGlobal) November 18, 2021
In 2022 Panda will bring the first officially licensed circuit for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Super Smash Bros. Melee to North America.
More details for this short series of events with cash prizes coming later. pic.twitter.com/9PdW9ntfd6