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Nintendo's president shares minor insight on why they don't offer Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament cash prizes

Smash for all!

Smash Bros. Ultimate has been part of some of the biggest game tournaments in last year, and while Nintendo has tied up for sponsorship of events and promotions, they've steered clear when it comes to offering big tournament prizes. Wondering why Nintendo doesn't dish out major cash to winners on the eSports scene? Nikkei talked to Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa to find out, and he offered up a pseudo response.

“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.”

Furukawa's response is the best example of a Nintendo sidestep that we've seen from him yet. While he doesn't give an outright reason, it does seem Nintendo values reaching everyone with their games, and doesn't want to highlight the elite by giving them oodles of cash. Nintendo always wants all players of all skill levels to have fun with their games, and they're definitely trying to convey that point with how they approach Smash Bros. Ultimate's eSports popularity.

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I think the real reason is that Nintendo wants their eSports approach to be community-driven and have the game live or die on its own merits. Far too often, companies use flashy prize pools and marketing hype to prop up mediocre games (EX, Street Fighter V). Nintendo wants player enjoyment to be the driving factor, hence, not getting involved in prize pools to let the quality of the game stand on its own.

As you said quite a sidestep and while what he’s saying is nice it does kinda stink for the Smash scene. At least they partner with events?

I think the real reason is that Nintendo wants their eSports approach to be community-driven and have the game live or die on its own merits. Far too often, companies use flashy prize pools and marketing hype to prop up mediocre games (EX, Street Fighter V). Nintendo wants player enjoyment to be the driving factor, hence, not getting involved in prize pools to let the quality of the game stand on its own.

As a hard core fighting guy. I grew up in NYC playing SF2 tournaments and to this day I LOVE some of the FGC like family, but I've never seen smash as tournament style game. I know I'm in the vast minority but it just feels better as a party fighter rather then something to sit and watch for 12 hours.

I like items and supers (final smashes) and inviting a ton of friends over for 8 player smash. Playing 1v1 fox v fox final destination on melee kinda spoiled it for me big-time.

Like gamers are getting prized money that saves their long term incomes...

Yeah, remember how the Pokemon Company offers cash prizes for pokemon VG and TCG tournaments, and it means only hardcore gamers want to play pokemon now? Children and casuals aren’t allowed to like it anymore.

That’s definitely what happens.

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