New Nintendo tournament guidelines meant to reign in the Smash Bros. scene could potentially do harm to smaller, grassroots tournaments.

New Nintendo tournament guidelines revealed by the publisher today showcase a number of major changes to how smaller tournaments are allowed to operate. Nintendo and esports have always had a difficult relationship. However, these new tournament guidelines damage the Smash Bros. scene due to its harsh rulings on prizes, participant numbers, and more.

The new guidelines and rules will effectively gate keep out grassroots tournaments with a combination of harsh restrictions and license requirements. The reactions from the community at-large range from apocalyptic to making the best of the situation.

Mario, esports, and you

Despite playing along and sounding like any other fighting game publisher, Nintendo and its esports scene have never been on great terms. This is the same company that attempted to shut down all of EVO 2013 and its stream for the inclusion of Super Smash Bros. Melee. However, the franchise's immense popularity--and the money it brings in--made Nintendo take notice and throw the occasional bone.

However, the new tournament guidelines from Nintendo remove any illusion that it cares. At least on a small scale. Let's look at some of the larger brush strokes of the new guidelines.

What are the Nintendo tournament guidelines for esports?

Nintendo’s new guidelines have only been announced for Europe and Japan at this point, which take effect on Nov. 15. As far as limitations and restrictions, the biggest include:

For small-scale, not for profit tournaments

  • Community Tournaments may not generate commercial revenue except as permitted by these guidelines.
  • Tournaments may include up to 200 Participants for in-person tournaments or up to 300 Participants for online tournaments.
  • No prize may exceed a market value of £4,500 / €5,000 in total.
  • Admission fees collected from Spectators must be used solely for the purpose of covering costs of organising the tournament and not used towards prizing.
  • When hosting a Community Tournament, Organisers may not receive goods, services, money, etc., from third parties as sponsors.
  • Pirated or modified versions of Nintendo games must not be used
  • Games with online play must use the online gameplay services and/or servers officially provided by Nintendo

The last two points are of utmost importance in these Nintendo tournament guidelines, especially for Smash Bros. This removes community modded versions of games such as Project M, Slippi, and anything else that may turn up. Moreover, the license provided to tournaments only covers active titles. Which, once again, does nothing but hurt the dedicated Smash Bros. Melee community.

HungryBox speaks

One of the well-known Smash player in the world and a tournament organizer, Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma has voiced his concerns on the move. According to DeBiedma, he has told Nintendo's lawyers multiple times his intentions on continuing to run his own tournament, Coinbox. And while he posted earlier tonight to social media saying the rules won't hurt smaller tournaments, he did reference his own tourney.

"Locals will likely fly under the radar but larger regionals and Coinbox will likely be forced to get licenses," HungryBox said. However, he also warns "“It’s better to have the devs on your side than against you” is a statement I heard multiple times today."

Will the Smash Bros. tournament guidelines from Nintendo hurt the scene? We'll have to wait and see when the NA rules shake down. Until then, the sky cannot fully fall upon our heads.

Stay tuned to for esports news and Smash Bros. information.