Nintendo president tries to explain why they haven't supported the Smash Ultimate esports scene


This game could be even bigger

Take a look at the best-selling Switch games. I'll wait.

Notice Super Smash Bros. Ultimate pretty high up there? Yeah, well it's the best selling fighting game of all time, and steadily approaching the 16 million sold mark. Depending on how long its legs are, it could unseat Mario Kart 8 and become the undisputed top Switch seller.

From that perspective, it's doing very well. But Nintendo is doing very little to actually promote/grow it in the professional scene, and have infamously dropped the ball on supporting pretty much any of their games outside of sparing events.

Speaking to Nikkei (translated by Kotaku AU), Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa defends the company's hesitation: "Esports, in which players compete on stage for prize money as an audience watches, demonstrates one of the wonderful charms of video games. It’s not that we’re opposed to it. So that our games can be widely enjoyed by anyone regardless of experience, gender, or age, we want to be able to participate in a wide range of different events. Our strength, what differentiates us from other companies, is this different worldview, not an amount of prize money."

As Nintendo Life points out, some pros haven't been happy with this uncertain stance for a while. Juan "Hungrybox" DeBiedma calls the current situation with payouts "embarrassing," and explains how the current pros are playing for "very little money" compared to the viewership they actually bring when compared to other, smaller games.

For the most part, folks can go about their lives, and Nintendo will go about printing money. But the potential marketing opportunities from pumping up esports events is there for the taking, and like most things in their purview, Nintendo is going to take it slowly, or not indulge at all. In some instances companies are a little too quick on the trigger finger with dumping ludicrous amounts of cash into esports, but there's a good middle ground here for Nintendo just waiting to be tapped. Smash Ultimate is the most successful fighter ever: there's potential for expansion there.

Smash Ultimate [Nikkei via Kotaku AU]

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