Not long after Banjo & Kazooie’s debut and Terry Bogard’s reveal as a newcomer for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Nintendo of Europe announced the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate European Circuit, a seven-event series set up to “determine Europe’s best player.”
Taking place across seven events around— Nintendo of Europe (@NintendoEurope) September 10, 2019
Europe before culminating in a grand final, the Super #SmashBrosUltimate European Circuit
will determine Europe’s best player. It all kicks off at Syndicate from 25/10 - 27/10!
See events here: https://t.co/eFAjB7EOVZ pic.twitter.com/ICudDT4Jnf
The circuit consists of already-established, major European events: Syndicate 2019, Dreamhack Winter 2019, Valhalla II, Dreamhack Leipzig 2020, Tech Republic V, Icarus VI, and finally Stunfest in May. The circuit will culminate with some sort of grand final event; what kind of event this will be has not yet been detailed.
Nintendo’s official European websites have an entire tab for this European Circuit. These are considered “featured” tournaments, and many events have direct links to their Smash.gg event pages.
The European Circuit is embedded in a larger portal, which is meant to feature not just the European Circuit events, but community tournaments submitted to the website by their tournament organizers directly. Organizers can submit their community tournaments to Nintendo to be featured on the website’s tournament portal. To do so, organizers must request a “community” or “individual” license depending on the scale of their event.
Although both kinds of licenses can be applied for, only the community license is currently available to the public on their website. Inside, the license details what an event must do in order to qualify for a spot on the portal. Organizers must submit “event materials” to Nintendo in order to be promoted, such as tournament information, seeding, and official photography.
The license outlines which stages can and cannot be used for broadcast, and even character victory fanfares must not be broadcast, likely due to copyright. Nintendo gets non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, worldwide rights to any of the event materials provided for any featured event.
For many competitive communities, event licenses to run events sanctioned by the publisher are not new. Just before the debut of the Overwatch League, Activision-Blizzard released guidelines for their Tournament License required by all third-party organizers if they planned to run an Overwatch event, as they do for all their properties.
Unlike Nintendo’s, Blizzard’s community license limits prize and appearance fees, limits the amount of sponsorship money an organizer can bring in to offset event costs, and even restricts what events can be named. In comparison, Nintendo’s licenses appear to be much tamer.
While any European tournament can apply to be featured on the portal, only the aforementioned seven tournaments are part of the European Circuit. Currently, there is no prize publicly outlined for the winner of the circuit.
For European Smash fans, there’s a lot to celebrate. An official portal for Smash tournaments on Nintendo’s websites should go a long way in bringing in new players who might not have known these tournaments existed otherwise, or might not have been able to find them otherwise.
In the meantime, the rest of us eagerly await what will come of this circuit and this portal, and what might be in store for other regions around the world.
Author’s Note: Structure is always welcome. It’s great to see Nintendo of Europe providing it in the form of this portal and circuit. Obviously, I’d love to see this happen in North America, but that might be easier said than done. And what of the grand prize? Or are competitors solely fighting for bragging rights and the prize pools of the individual circuit events they’ve played in? Although now we know much more than before, there’s still much more we don’t know, and I can’t wait to find out what that all might be.