Following Nintendo’s cancellation of the Splatoon 2 NA tournament, fans organized a last-minute replacement to protest the company’s onerous behavior.
Splatoon 2 fans have put together their own unofficial tournament to make up for and to protest Nintendo’s recent cancellations. The controversy began last month when Nintendo issued a cease and desist to The Big House, a massive Smash Bros. tournament, for hosting an unofficial third-party mod which enabled online multiplayer in Super Smash Bros. Melee. This irrationally prohibitive behavior led to backlash from professional and casual fans alike.
Nintendo’s response to this backlash hasn’t been much better than its initial response to the mod. Most recently it set its sights on the Splatoon 2 North American Open tournament, a major event bringing in some of the top teams in the game. Nintendo cancelled its own livestream of the finals when 30% of the participating teams put messages in their usernames supporting the #FreeMelee movement, a Twitter hashtag formed by fans seeking to protest Nintendo’s callous treatment of the Big House tournament. Nintendo cited “unexpected executional challenges” as the reason for this cancellation, but this vague excuse is widely considered to be a flimsy cover for the company refusing to air anything in support of #FreeMelee. Unfortunately, these antics just led to a new #FreeSplatoon movement trending as well.
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The online community wasn’t content to simply throw hashtags around, either. EndGameTV picked up Nintendo’s slack by hosting its own livestreamed tournament, which was dubbed The Squid House in an unsubtle reference to the tournament whose cancellation started this mess. The tournament brought together the top four Splatoon 2 teams in America and crowdfunded its prize pool. Twitter user SlimyQuagsire reported on just how successful this event was; EndGameTV and its viewers were able to offer the largest prize pool the western Splatoon circuit has ever seen, topping anything Nintendo would have offered for a more compliant event. It was also the most-viewed grassroots Splatoon stream yet, at least in the western market. And it was all organized overnight without Nintendo’s help or oversight, with the core theme of criticizing Nintendo for its unfair treatment of the professional scene front and center.
✅Largest prize pool in western Splatoon history- more than Ninty has offered
✅Most viewed stream for a western grassroots Splatoon event
✅All without N*ntendo#TheSquidHouse was insane. And it’s all thanks to all of you. Thank you so much for supporting
— Slimy (@SlimyQuagsire) December 6, 2020
Nintendo has a considerably large fan movement on its hands, and it isn’t looking good for the game company. Shortly after the initial Big House cancellation, an anonymous Twitter user came forward with a long list of how Nintendo has actively harmed the professional Smash Bros. circuit, turning down numerous details that could have helped the game grow into a viable eSports industry. If this anonymous list, which has been corroborated by several industry professionals, holds true, then Nintendo’s problems with Super Smash Bros. run a lot deeper than its draconian policies on third party software.
Nintendo has long been held in high esteem for its fundamental role in making the video game industry what it is today. Many of its classic, foundational titles are still held up as icons of the video game industry, and with very good reason. But this does not make the company infallible. 2020 has seen Nintendo defined by greed, cruelty, and needless, consumer-hostile limited releases. The developer is still putting out high-quality titles but more and more frequently these excellent experiences are costing fans and players a lot more than just money. It’s heartening to see how successful this Splatoon 2 tournament has been, because this proves that no matter how great Nintendo’s games are, there are still people out there willing to hold the company accountable for its actions.
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