Panda Partners with Nintendo America for First Officially Licensed Smash Bros. Tournaments

by in Fighting Game News | Nov, 18th 2021

Panda (formerly Panda Global) revealed on Thursday they have agreed to a monumental partnership with Nintendo America. The world’s premier esports organization focused on fighting games announced a new Super Smash Bros. tournament circuit coming in 2022. It will be the first ever officially licensed competition in North America and will feature both Ultimate and Melee. It is a historic moment for the games and their players, which have been supported independently for decades.

A Historic Alliance

Panda partnering with Nintendo America means big things for one of gaming’s strongest communities. Smash’s competitive scene first took off in the mid-2000’s with Super Smash Bros. Melee. Starting from humble origins, the game would go on to be featured at MLG and EVO. Melee even remained the primary competitive Smash title over Brawl, peaking in popularity during the early 2010’s. Following the series’ resurgence with Super Smash Bros. 4, the esports scene for the modern Smash games began to match the scale of Melee’s. Since the release of Ultimate in 2018, both communities are thriving more than ever. 

The most impressive part of the Smash community’s growth is that up to this point, they’ve done with little to no support from Nintendo. This has created long-standing tension between the game’s players and parent company that has come to a head several times. Panda’s partnership with Nintendo America hopes to mend that uneasy relationship and strive for a more collaborative future.

Tournaments and other competitions have been historically run by grassroots organizations like VGBootCamp and Beyond the Summit. The former even sponsored the first ever World Tour for both Ultimate and Melee, which is still ongoing. Although they lack financial support from Nintendo, Smash tournaments tend to be fairly lucrative. Smash Ultimate Summit 3 last August featured a $159,000 prize pool with over $47,000 going to first place.

Words from Panda CEO


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