Nintendo explains why FGC support is lacking

May 31 2019 2 min read
Nintendo

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In an ESPN interview, Bill Trinen, the Director and Product Marketing Manager for Nintendo of America spoke about the company's competitive gaming strategy.

We don't necessarily view ourselves as being in the eSports space.

Neither does the FGC.

As esports began to grow in popularity and scope, members of the fighting game community were very vocal about how they weren't part of the esports scene. Debates and theories rose up in places like Reddit and Twitter, where users were vehemently discussing the topic.

— What we are interested in doing is keeping players engaged and helping more players find a path to sort of exploring that a competitive play and playing in competitive tournaments. That's really where our focus is.

This sounds very much like what the FGC has been doing ever since tournaments moved out of arcades and into large rented spaces. It is also believed to be part of the reason why some divisions of the FGC are so afraid of embracing esports. They believe the focus would be taken away from the underdogs, leaving only big-name pros from popular teams competing in flashy tournaments.

— We have a much, much larger pool of players that don't participate in those tournaments and we look at, from an official Nintendo tournament perspective, we essentially feel our role is to be the bridge between the casual audience and trying to integrate them into the more competitive scene.

Yet in 2013, Nintendo almost prevented Smash Bros. Melee from being streamed at one of the FGC’s biggest events, the Evolution Championship Series (EVO). That reversal led to the inclusion of Super Smash Bros. (Smash 4) in EVO 2015 and kept Melee as a tournament staple until just this year where it will finally be dropped for newer titles.

Nintendo’s focus on events like the upcoming Super Smash Bros. Ultimate World Championship is an example of what it could bring to the FGC throughout the year. The Online qualifier which gained 10,000 players is a good step in the right direction and so long as the FGC forgets its biased image of corporate influence, things could get a whole lot better for casual and competitive players alike. Both parties clearly have the same goal in mind but haven't properly aligned themselves to achieve it.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Championship will feature a 3v3 tournament. It will take place on June 8, alongside Splatoon 2 World Championship, right around E3.


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