Understanding Nintendo’s Latest Guidelines for Super Smash Bros. Tournaments

January 9, 2024

Gaming publishers wield the authority to establish competition and tournament guidelines for their games, shaping the landscape of esports events. This influence is particularly evident in Nintendo’s approach to Super Smash Bros. tournaments, where staying abreast of their guidelines becomes paramount for organizers and participants. As of November 15, 2023, Nintendo introduced several new directives, significantly impacting the competitive play environment. Despite challenges in Nintendo’s relationship with the grassroots competitive scene, understanding and adhering to these guidelines is essential to maintaining fair play and event integrity.

Overview of Nintendo’s Latest Guidelines

1. Game Version and Updates

Nintendo mandates tournaments to run on the latest official version of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Any modifications, including unofficial patches or alterations, are strictly prohibited. This rule aims to maintain a level playing field and prevent unfair advantages gained through unauthorized changes.

2. Prize Money

The new guidelines further narrow the criteria for what counts as a community tournament. Community tournaments are now prohibited from having more than 200 participants (300 for online tournaments), with entry fees capped at £18 (approximately $20 in US dollars). Moreover, prize pools cannot exceed £4500 ($5,000 US dollars) and cannot exceed £9000 ($10,000 US dollars) in any 12-month period.

3. No Profit

Tournaments are also not allowed to generate a profit — any surplus money must be returned to participants or spectators — and tournament organizers cannot receive any money or goods from sponsors for events.

4. Stage and Rule Sets

Tournament organizers are urged to adhere to Nintendo’s recommended rule sets for stages and game options. While some customization of rules is permitted to enhance the competitive experience, it must align with Nintendo’s fundamental guidelines. Any deviation might lead to disqualification or the event losing Nintendo’s support.

5. Legal Issues and Endorsement

To host a tournament using Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, organizers must obtain proper licenses and permissions from Nintendo. Failure to comply with legal obligations might lead to potential legal actions or the revocation of event support from Nintendo.

Next Steps

Nintendo’s guidelines for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournaments as of November 15, 2023, underscore the importance of adherence to official game versions, controller regulations, rule sets, and legal compliance. Tournament organizers play a pivotal role in upholding these guidelines to ensure fair, enjoyable, and officially recognized competitive events.

Staying informed, implementing thorough checks, and maintaining open communication with participants are key steps toward organizing successful Super Smash Bros. tournaments while aligning with Nintendo’s guidelines. This ensures a vibrant and thriving competitive scene that continues to captivate players and fans alike.

For further clarification, please contact KJK’s Esports, Media & Entertainment attorneys Scott Norcross (SAN@kjk.com; 216.736.7264) or Paige Rabatin (PMR@kjk.com; 216.736.7270).