Smash Bros. Melee Viewership Is Up Despite COVID, Thanks to Project Slippi

by in Fighting Game News | Dec, 3rd 2020

Don’t let Nintendo lie to you; they don’t care one bit about Smash Bros’ competitive scene. Recently, we discussed The Big House having to cancel their Smash Bros Melee event, thanks to Nintendo’s legal team. The reason for this is astounding. The Big House was going to use the Dolphin Emulator and Project Slippi. Nintendo alleges that this would be done via piracy of the game instead of people legitimately owning copies of Smash Melee. However, thanks to Project Slippi, the viewership of Smash Bros is on the rise, despite COVID-19.

Melee Won’t Go Down Without a Fight

If there’s any fighting game we thought would be doomed in the COVID-19 environment, it was Smash Melee. It’s not a game that was played regularly online. Virtually all events were done in person, and we can’t have that right now. But according to A major figure in the Smash community, Arian “The Crimson Blur” Fathieh, viewership for Smash Bros Melee is surprisingly up, due to Slippi. 

What is Slippi, anyway? Slippi uses roll-back netcode to improve online Smash Bros. Melee matches. That means online matches are not only viable but incredible! Without any offline Smash tournaments, Smash Bros Melee viewership is up 13% compared to what figures we have of last year. Offline tournaments make up the bulk of all Smash Melee viewership, according to a thread by The Crimson Blur

Instead of giving up, Melee went online! This means, that thanks to Slippi, online tournaments have been on the rise. People who love melee can watch from a new perspective, instead of having to crowd around a projector or a TV. You can now watch from the comfort of your own home instead of traveling for an event. 

This is made even more interesting when you consider that other fighting games seem to be on the decline. Smash Bros. Ultimate for example, is down 55% in viewership. This isn’t to say that Melee outstrips Ultimate’s viewership – Smash Ultimate had a titanic following, so it still has more despite that downtick. It’s no secret that Ultimate has a dreadful netcode, and Slippi makes watching Smash Bros Melee viewership more appealing.

Could the downturn also have to do with the rampant sexual abuse allegations in the Smash Bros community? It very well could, but we can’t speculate on that. When the world opens up again though, you can look forward to more Smash Bros Melee than ever, if that’s your cup of tea. No matter what you think, you can’t deny how effective Slippi has been in improving the quality of competitive Smash Bros Melee. 


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