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Nintendo Releases Community Tournament Guidelines


Today, Nintendo released some community tournament guidelines in Europe and Japan. These seem to have some massive implications for the competitive Smash scene. So, let’s take a look at the most important parts:
  • All for-profit tournaments are now prohibited unless the organizer obtains a license from Nintendo. Effectively this means all events must follow these guidelines unless the organizer has Nintendo's permission and a license.
  • Community tournaments may not receive any money or goods from sponsors or other third parties.
  • All community tournaments have an entry fee cap of €20/$20 for each competitor. There is also an admission fee cap of €15/$15 per spectator. These fees can only be used to cover the cost of organizing the event.
  • The community tournaments also have an entrant cap. The maximum is 200 competitors for in-person events and 300 for online events.
  • There is a prize cap of €5,000/$5,000 for community tournaments. Additionally, no organizer can give out more than €10,000/$10,000 in prizing per year.
  • Community tournaments cannot imply they’re associated with Nintendo.
  • Community tournament names cannot contain any Nintendo IPs, even if shortened. They also cannot use any logos, characters or art associated with Nintendo IPs in promotional material. There is an exception though, organizers can use screenshots of the game they're playing.
  • Any and all game modifications are prohibited. Additionally, all game copies must be obtained legally.
  • Online community tournaments must use Nintendo’s official online servers for their games.
  • All organizers must post official notices on all promotional material for their events. The first is “Nintendo is not a sponsor of or affiliated with this tournament.". The second is “Terms for participating in and viewing Community Tournaments using Nintendo Games” with one of the following URLs: https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Legal-in...all-Participants-and-Spectators--2468907.html or https://en-americas-support.nintendo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/63433
  • Nintendo retains the right to shut down any tournament at their discretion.
  • The effective date for these guidelines is November 15th, 2023.
This does not cover the full extent of the guidelines. To view the entire list of rules, please check out one of Nintendo’s official pages on them here: https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Legal-information/Community-Tournament-Guidelines-2467744.html or https://en-americas-support.nintendo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/63433#s1q3

Currently, Nintendo of America hasn’t posted their own guidelines yet. This article will be updated with the USD values for fees and any relevant changes if those are posted.

Update: Nintendo of America has posted their community guidelines. All fees remain the same as their European counterparts but in USD instead of EUR.

Author’s Note: On a completely unrelated note I’d like to remind everyone that Rivals of Aether exists. It’s a really cool platform fighter, people should check that out more. In all seriousness though, yeah, I don't think this is very good. To be blunt, it’s pretty bad news for most tournaments. Luckily though, I don’t think this will truly “kill” the Smash scene, however it can definitely hurt it. But, what do you think? Please let us know in the comments below!

Writing: Zerp Zerp
Thumbnail Graphic: Zerp Zerp
Social: Zerp Zerp
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Mitchell "Zerp" Brenkus


There are some things where I can say "eh, understandable" like the entrance fee cap, but overall this is a really tone-deaf list that is overall a bad omen for the competitive scene, especially the bigger majors. Makes me wonder what the end goal's supposed to be here - Make people not want to play Smash?

(also hell yeah rivals rules)
These guidelines definitely hurts, but I currently don't think this will be any killing blow or anything.
Locals and small regionals are very likely completely unaffected by this, but this definitely will hit majors hard.
The likely scenario imo is that TOs are either going to ignore it or going to find loopholes around these guidelines.

These guidelines also only seem to affect specifically Ultimate events from what I can see. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong.
Some of the guidelines are understandable, but yeah, most of it seems designed to hurt the competitive scene enormously. Even if it doesn't kill the scene entirely, it's a shame that such a great game like Smash is going to have the community partially gutted because of the stubbornness of the company.
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Every once and a while it feels good to unify the smashboards community in hatred of nintendo
Hatred is probably unjustified. I doubt more than 10% of smashboard regulars even go to the big tournaments regularly. Frustration definitely
Honestly this would only make sense in the context of Nintendo actually supporting major tournaments.
I mean i get disliking or hating this but still a lot of people overhate on nintendo like half these rules are pro consumer (Entrance Fees)
Granted it still blows being regulated but i doubt that this kills tournaments competitive scenes would survive an apokalypse!
I mean i get disliking or hating this but still a lot of people overhate on nintendo like half these rules are pro consumer (Entrance Fees)
Granted it still blows being regulated but i doubt that this kills tournaments competitive scenes would survive an apokalypse!
You don’t really get the repercussions of this then. This is nothing about being “pro-consumer” or anything. It’s being “pro-Nintendo”. It’s Nintendo’s outdated obsession controlling their products by hurting consumers aka fans with wide-sweeping and restrictive policies. “You will enjoy the product the way we want you to enjoy it” motto.
The thing that is being overlooked, IMO, is that this affects more than just the Smash Bros scene. This affects ALL Nintendo IP, and ALL forms of competition, including:

Altogether, this is bad enough that anyone that is still on the fence about hosting tournaments with Nintendo IP should cut their losses and do something else.
Having read through the entire document and being part of the ever growing Smash scene from its inception, I have to say I am more on the side of Nintendo with this one. Of course some points I'm a little iffy on and would rather leave it to a tournament "market", so to speak.

The tournament scene has changed a lot over the time; many of you never tasted the good days of the early grass roots Smash scene, but it has become a lot bigger to the point that Nintendo not only should do something like this but to maintain their standards they have to treat official tournaments no differently than the rest of their company because they are essentially an extension of the Nintendo image as far as the public is concerned. Think back on all the toxicity and the scandals and the poor behavior from any group or individual within the Smash scene and you get why this is necessary when these kinds of things are reported about in gaming media or social media. If you are going to be an officially licensed Nintendo tournament then you had better act the part.

With that said, I'm not professing to be an expert in these particular legalities, but I'd wager to think there's a loophole where one can run non-licensed tournaments with personal property outside Nintendo's licensing and continue the same grass roots events (events for better or worse).
But I think holding Organizers to a higher standard of operation, at least in some points in the guideline, can be a good thing. Particularly when it comes to TOs being toxic and completely violating personal rights and taking advantage of people in petty ways, this puts their official licensing in line with what most of the attendees and spectators will want from an event. So in that regard I approve of it, but I would also approve of having competing markets of traditional grass roots and officially licensed and let the market decide on success.
this youtuber shares my opinion:
Nintendo isnt evil they just are overprotective of their biggest asset!
I mean nintendo is not good either they just ya know!

And i mean if you follow these guidelines you cant get in trouble with nintendo thats a win sorta!
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