Actually, Nintendo Wanted Smash Bros. Out Of EVO Tourney Entirely, Which Is Really Stupid

from the you're-a-sport-now dept

The other day, Tim Cushing wrote about Nintendo's odd move of pulling its fighting title Smash Bros. from the internet stream of the Evolution Championship Series, before then walking back the request and allowing it after all. In that post, he noted that Nintendo appeared to be concerned, wrongly, that a stream of its game being played would somehow harm its brand, and that it was fan reaction to the move that caused its flip-flop. That all may indeed be true, but it turns out it wasn't the whole story.

The news now is that Nintendo wasn't just seeking to shut down the stream, but the entire Smash Bros. portion of the tournament.
Evo co-founder Joey Cuellar has revealed that Nintendo didn't just want to stop Smash Bros. Melee being streamed from this year's fighting game competition, they wanted to stop that part of the tournament taking place altogether.

"They were not only trying to shut down the stream", he told OneMoreGameTV, "they were trying to shut down the event, the Smash portion of the event".
That is even more insane. It isn't often you can take any real life lessons from the world of professional sports, but Nintendo might as well realize something: it's in the professional sports business now. Tangentially, sure, but it's in it. EVO is but one example of professional gaming competitions. The trends seem to suggest that the world of pro-gaming competitions, leagues, and tournaments is only going to grow, perhaps even exponentially. And if that trend does indeed play out, Nintendo better take a page from professional sports leagues and encourage the playing of its games, rather than trying to shut it all down.

There's a reason why Major League Baseball puts such an emphasis on building baseball fields throughout the country. The NFL knows what they're doing when they make sure they have a stake in Pop Warner football. The NBA has its players going not only around the country, but around the world to host basketball clinics. More people playing your game is good for your game. Good for breeding better players, for growing markets, and good for generating interest generally in the game itself.

If Nintendo was smart, it might consider market-testing its own gaming "stadiums" or competition centers, building upon the interest to promote its own games and encouraging others to do likewise. Trying to shut down the tournament? That's just stupid.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    Malor (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 11:17pm

    Their argument seems to boil down to this: Nintendo asserts it has the right not to let you play its games.

    Someone really needs to take a rolled-up newspaper to Nintendo of America.

    And that's before you take your excellent points about the impact on Nintendo into consideration, the fact that the very last thing gaming companies should be doing is trying to prevent people from playing their games.

    Right at the very start, the thing is crazy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 11:36pm

      Re:

      Hey our product is awesome and fun!

      But you better not actually do awesome and fun things with it!

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 4:19am

      Re:

      If we learned anything from the gaming industry's bizarre fetish for DRM and general control over "their" products after sale, they are not too concerned about their customers playing and enjoying the products they bought, but rather the whole paying bit. Preferebly over and over and over again.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Brad S (profile), Jul 11th, 2013 @ 11:45pm

    "If Nintendo was smart" ... That's a big 'if.'

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    S. T. Stone, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 11:50pm

    The real problem here comes down to Nintendo’s mindset vis-á-vis consumers.

    Nintendo wants a placid, tame userbase that accepts whatever Nintendo puts out without (too much) criticism. Nintendo wants a consumer base that accepts the proclamations from Redmond/Tokyo/etc. as gospel and never questions a single decision from the company. Nintendo wants a fanbase that allows Nintendo to control every aspect of its IP without so much as a whisper of dissent.

    Nintendo wants drones, not consumers. Nintendo wants yes men, not fans.

    Nintendo doesn't seem to want people to play its games in any way other than how Nintendo wants them to play it. A fair number of Smash Bros. fans accused Nintendo of trying to alienate the competitive Smash Bros. scene with Brawl via its ‘tripping’ mechanism; Melee remains the popular choice for competitive play primarily for that reason.

    Nintendo doesn’t seem to want people questioning the decisions it makes for the directions of its IP. The company all but brushed off the criticism of Metroid: Other M in regards to the characterization of Samus Aran and implied that gamers didn’t understand what the game’s director wanted to accomplish.

    The EVO debacle seems to imply that Nintendo doesn’t want the Smash Bros. IP associated with the Fighting Game Community or perhaps even considered a fighting game IP. That it seems to want this despite Melee beating out more recent and more popular games (including indie darling Skullgirls) in the EVO fundraiser to earn the ninth tournament slot for the event speaks volumes about the attitude Nintendo has towards it consumers.

    But it also speaks to the mindset of the company in general. For too long, Nintendo has refused to evolve a number of its IPs in any significant manner (hi Zelda), release new games in older-but-still-loved IPs (hi StarFox), and stop force-feeding specific IPs down gamers’ throats (hi Mario).

    On top of that, the company seems to have only its own interests in mind when designing consoles. When the industry began moving towards CD-ROMs (a move designed as much with consumers’ wallets and storage spaces in mind as the costs of game creation and distribution), Nintendo stayed with proprietary cartridges (N64). When the industry moved to DVDs, Nintendo used a proprietary format (Gamecube). When consoles began using onboard hard drives to store game saves and downloadable content, Nintendo half-assed the concept by including far less space on the Wii than even the lowest-end models of the PS3 and the XBox 360 carried.

    When online play became the norm in the industry, Nintendo refused to make a leap into the online market — and when it made the leap (with the Wii), it did so in a boneheaded fashion that looked wholly out of touch regarding how consumers perceived online gaming.

    And that, right now, has become Nintendo’s true legacy: despite all the success it had with the Wii and all the success it had in the pre-PlayStation era of gaming, Nintendo has fallen out of touch with what the average ‘modern gamer’ wants out of videogames and looks damn near ‘backwards’ in the eyes of said gamers. Even longtime Nintendo fans (such as myself) don’t have the patience or willpower to defend moves such as the Let’s Play and EVO debacles any more.

    Nintendo, through years of ignoring consumers and focusing on controlling its own image, has become a company that sits woefully out of touch with the gaming community at large. It has lost an immeasurable amount of goodwill with gamers, and when it makes dumb decisions such as the EVO debacle, it loses that much more.

    Nintendo must change its mindset and ‘catch up’ with the rest of the industry or it’ll eventually suffer the same fate as the companies it crushed back before Sony pushed out the PlayStation One.

    After all: SEGA may have had its die-hard fans, but even they couldn’t save the Dreamcast.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Eddie-e, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 1:28am

      Re:

      For those who didn't understand the situation, there's a cultural explanation: Nintendo is a Japanese company and Japanese doesn't like spoilers and normally Japanese company does anything in their power to remove them from the internet in Japan, including video.

      While this is understandable in Japan, it's not in the U.S.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      JCHP, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 2:20am

      Re:

      So... Nintendo is acting like the **IA's we're so used to seeing in Techdirt being so afraid of technology changing their business that they're forced to move with the times the same way a dog on a leash is dragged along when it doesn't want to go anywhere?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Wally (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 5:20am

      Re:

      "Nintendo must change its mindset and ‘catch up’ with the rest of the industry or it’ll eventually suffer the same fate as the companies it crushed back before Sony pushed out the PlayStation One."

      Considering they use the same CPU as IBM's Wattson, that their WiiU that the games that use the screen controller are cross platform between ARM and PowerPC, that they have a very short, very wide system bus between CPU and GPU and use ESRAM for VRAM and System RAM separately, and your old Virtual Console Games from the Wii now play in 1080p thus making the old N64 games look less jagged...due to antialiasing, and due to the fact that they are still the only console that currently uses 1GB of VRAM and a separate 512MB of RAM for the OS.. I'd say their ahead.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        PaulT (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 5:46am

        Re: Re:

        Considering that they still haven't grasped online play, have a console that's underpowered compared to the upcoming consoles from both Sony and Microsoft, have a console that's underwhelming in its appeal and sales and still rely heavily on franchises rather than quality new titles, they have a lot to learn. Both EA and Ubisoft have recently announced that they're scaling back support, which doesn't bode well.

        I've got nothing against Nintendo, but if you have to grasp at upgraded retro games and tech that's largely outclassed by existing (if not currently released) tech from competitors, you're not defending them very well. They do a lot of great things, but are missing the things that attract big sales right now.

        Time will tell, but they do risk going the way of Sega unless they can get their act together (in the home anyway, the 3DS is doing extremely well with little real competition from Sony).

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          Ninja (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:06am

          Re: Re: Re:

          That. Wii is basically 2 Game Cubes glued together (metaphorically speaking) and is greatly outperformed by the competition. The innovation of the motion thing that grabbed a lot of families is now fairly understood and will be addressed more than properly by the next generation consoles thus depriving Nintendo of the competitive advantage Wii enjoyed.

          I personally bought an Wii and it's an incredibly group entertainment machine. The diversity of games however is limited to variations of the same formula over and over. There are good games for it? Sure. But it got tired pretty fast. My Xbox has like a fraction of the titles I got for Wii and I play it much more.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            icon
            Jay (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 9:50am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            That doesn't mean much. The game industry usually goes to the cheapest system with the largest fanbase. The Nintendo, Super NES, Playstation, PS2, and Wii kind of show that we shouldn't look at hardware specs to see what people want.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            •  
              icon
              John Fenderson (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 10:58am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The Nintendo, Super NES, Playstation, PS2, and Wii kind of show that we shouldn't look at hardware specs to see what people want.


              I know every time I've bought a game console, I've never looked at the hardware specs at all. They're irrelevant to me. What I look for is the existence of good games. And, truthfully, the games that need really good hardware are usually not the good games.

               

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            •  
              icon
              Ninja (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 11:19am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I agree. That's why I'm questioning how Nintendo will fare they managed to sell shitloads due to the motion system inovation. You know what virtually all of the people I have contact with want now for entertainment? Xbox. Because of knect. And Xbox is at least 20% more expensive than Wii. And personally M$ system has much more potential for tons of fun than Nintendo's system.

               

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              •  
                icon
                John Fenderson (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 2:16pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                You know what virtually all of the people I have contact with want now for entertainment? Xbox. Because of knect.


                We have opposite friends! Virtually all the people I know who want a new console do not want the XBox. The kinect is not a selling point for them, and the xbox is a bit pricy -- not just in terms of the initial cost, but the ongoing costs.

                 

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 6:28am

        Re: Re:

        I'm not sure what's more ludicrous, that you're arguing the WiiU has more advanced internal hardware than the other consoles or that having more advanced internal hardware in the console means they're 'ahead' in the context provided.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 11:56pm

    It's funny when you consider that people were actually trying to goad nintendo into shutting it down because the fighting game community hates smash players.

    I think it's a dumb move overall and anyone with two brain cells to rub together would realize the toxic consequences. But these are lawyers we're dealing with after all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      S. T. Stone, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 12:00am

      Re:

      Yeah, if anything, Nintendo may have wanted to avoid having the Smash Bros. IP associated with the Fighting Game Community at large due to the racism, sexism, and sexual prejudice that appears to run rampant and unchecked within the FGC (which, when you think about it, comes off as reasonable).

      But even if it did want to disassociated Smash Bros. with the FGC, it chose the worst way possible to try.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        Jay (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 12:56am

        Re: Re:

        But here's the thing...

        The Smash community has been building for the last 10 years. Maybe Nintendo wanted to see them play the newest game, but people won't do it.

        They've already been playing the game for a while so of course they aren't going to just take it kindly that ANY corporation would tell them they can't do something.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 1:16am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I understand fully if they don't want to play the newest game though.

          For comparison, the newest Smash Bros game is kind of like a fighting game if it randomly wrestled away the controls for you every twenty seconds if you happened to be playing too well. Gameplay wise, it is akin to a staring contest where the loser is the first person to move more than a foot away from his starting position. It is in every sense of the word, broken balance wise. (Not that Smash wasn't already a pretty broken game to begin with)

          Either ways it's still a boneheaded move on Nintendo's part if they wanted to goad people into playing the new game. The correct action would be to pay the players to stream their new game instead of trying to force them to with lawyers.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            icon
            Ninja (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 11:35am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Oh so I'm not the only one that thinks that there are some characters in Smash Bros that are stupidly op?

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            •  
              identicon
              S. T. Stone, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 4:13pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              It’s actually kind of the point.

              Nintendo designed SSB so that anyone could theoretically win with any given character based more on luck than skill. You could consider some characters ‘overpowered’, but Nintendo tries to ‘balance’ that with the whole ‘tripping’ mechanism.

              As I said above, Nintendo doesn’t want people to consider SSB as a fighting game franchise. To that end, Nintendo doesn’t necessarily do the sort of balancing and tweaking to power levels and movesets that a company such as Capcom would do with the average Street Fighter game — and Nintendo sure as hell wouldn’t listen to fans if they decided to do actual balancing, anyway, because what the hell do the fans know amirite?

               

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 12:16am

    If Nintendo was smart, it might consider market-testing its own gaming "stadiums" or competition centers, building upon the interest to promote its own games and encouraging others to do likewise. Trying to shut down the tournament? That's just stupid.

    Well, we are talking about the people who added a game mechanic where you randomly trip and fall, specifically because they wanted people to win at random instead of based on player skill.
    I can just imagine the line of thought involved in that decision. "No, you can't play Smash Bros at that event, because it's an event for fighting games. Smash Bros is NOT a fighting game, it's a party game!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 1:20am

      Re:

      That's what most of the fighting game community says every year, actually. They keep it around because it makes the most money out of any single EVO game. It is their money maker even though no one really cares for it.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 12:28am

    Well, that literally makes no sense. Just another example of how some corporations are just interested in control at all costs, even if it's a stupid and counter-productive move commercially.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Ninja (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 4:06am

      Re:

      Just look at the MAFIAA. It's irrationally stuck in their brains.

      I say let them shoot their feet plenty of times. We'll need to see one of the giants taking a nose dive and crash before the huge companies start thinking...

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        Wally (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 5:23am

        Re: Re:

        I don't think the issue is involving intellectual property. I think Nintendo wants to create a buzz about Super Smash Brothers because the new one comes out soon.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          Ninja (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 5:46am

          Re: Re: Re:

          You misunderstand me. I'm talking about bad business decisions and anti-customer behavior, should have clarified. And even with what you said it's still stupid...

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 3:04am

    My understanding is that Nintendo just doesn't like Smash Bros. being treated as a "serious" fighting game.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Akari Mizunashi (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 3:37am

    "If Nintendo was smart..."

    ...it would go back to its roots to remember why the NES sold so well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Wally (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 5:30am

      Re:

      The NES sold well because it wasn't marketed as a home computer console. The reason the grey front loading NES looks the way it does is because it was the "top loading consoles" if that time that caused the crash here.

      It provided a seal of quality because it restricted third parties from developing and releasing more than one game per year. Dick move...yes....did it work...yes.

      Konami owned Ultra and various other companies created subsidiaries to get around it.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    vegetaman (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 4:52am

    So... Let me see...

    Let me see if I understand this...

    1) Make 4 person multiplayer game that is terribly competitive.

    2) Get mad when people try to play it competitively.

    What the hell, Nintendo!?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Nicholas Weaver (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 5:48am

    This from the geniuses....

    This move from the "geniuses" that brought us "The Wizard"

    Wow, times have changed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Alt0, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:34am

    And for some reason the NHL is left out of the above examples of major sports.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Gwiz (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 8:35am

      Re:

      And for some reason the NHL is left out of the above examples of major sports.

      Because hockey is not just a sport, it's a religion. Just ask any Canadian.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 8:00am

    Wouldn't be funny if EVO disowned Nintendo entirely and encouraged gamers to move on to other systems.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 10:32am

    Nintendo has and probably will always be an ultra conservative company. Being the only company still using region locks and their recent strides in trying to command control of their IP on the internet is just a bad sign of Ninty just refusing to modernize while it's competitors are doing the opposite and encouraging sharing and streaming of their own games.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This