Nintendo's hands-off attitude towards competitive, pro or con?

TheMisterManGuy

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#1
Like most publishers with multiplayer games these days, Nintendo has placed a big focus on eSports with Splatoon, ARMS, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Unlike most publishers though, Nintendo stays pretty hands off with the competitive scenes for their games. They'll endorse events like EVO and Apex, they'll host their own competitions at E3, and market these scenes when they can. But they won't contribute to the prize pool, or have any real league that sets up a series of rules and pay-rates for Pro Players. Instead they leave all that stuff up to the community.

It's an unorthodox approach, especially considering that for a long time, they tried to disassociate themselves from eSports. But it's one that has its benefits. A community driven approach means the rules and legalities of the scene are generally dictated by the players, not the publisher. It also allows the community to form their own culture and identity instead of a manufacutured culture publisher wants to market. However, it also means pro players of Smash and Splatoon earn a lot less than players of other eSports titles, as Nintendo's lack of financial involvement means their pay is coming out of the community's pocket.

I do think Nintendo should provide something for the prize-pool as it be better than nothing. On the other hand, I can appreciate their decision to let the community drive the competitive scenes for their games. It's a refreshing change of pace from the commercialized approaches of Capcom and Activision.
 

Mental Surge

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#2
Absolutely a con. Imbalance in games is one of the biggest issues towards them getting taken seriously as a means of serious competition. The game is never going to be perfectly balanced, especially with such a stupidly huge roster but the best they can do is try. Listen to feedback, look at statistics, etc. it will only help the game in the long run. They acknowledged that balance is obviously a priority and they realize it has significance if they are doing balance patches at all, all they need to do is be more pro active with it. For example, Dedede has an issue with his D-tilt where the hitbox on it is placed too far forward so if you are playing a skinny character and running towards me as I use it, it will clip through you and miss. This was an issue back in smash 4 and they STILL have not fixed it. That to me is inexcusable. There are certain characters that are obviously struggling in the competitive scene and others that are performing far above the others. If you don't do anything to fix that then less and less people from within the community or from without will take the game seriously. Not to mention it suggests to people that the company really does not care. And tbh I have a really hard time accepting that they care, at least more than what little they have shown so far.

I mean look at online in this game. It's a mess. In fact I would argue that it's considerably worse than Smash 4's online. How is that even possible? There are basic things that still have not been implemented like being able to queue up for doubles with someone online, being able to switch characters in between matches, being able to vote on what maps you want to play instead of the game just choosing for you, getting random rulesets with items enabled with stage hazards despite queueing up for 1v1 omega in elite smash.
 
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TheMisterManGuy

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#3
Absolutely a con. Imbalance in games is one of the biggest issues towards them getting taken seriously as a means of serious competition. The game is never going to be perfectly balanced, especially with such a stupidly huge roster but the best they can do is try. Listen to feedback, look at statistics, etc. it will only help the game in the long run. They acknowledged that balance is obviously a priority and they realize it has significance if they are doing balance patches at all, all they need to do is be more pro active with it. For example, Dedede has an issue with his D-tilt where the hitbox on it is placed too far forward so if you are playing a skinny character and running towards me as I use it, it will clip through you and miss. This was an issue back in smash 4 and they STILL have not fixed it. That to me is inexcusable. There are certain characters that are obviously struggling in the competitive scene and others that are performing far above the others. If you don't do anything to fix that then less and less people from within the community or from without will take the game seriously. Not to mention it suggests to people that the company really does not care. And tbh I have a really hard time accepting that they care, at least more than what little they have shown so far.
The thing is. The team bases a lot of their balancing on Elite Smash. So input from that is considered when balancing. Plus, as you mentioned, the huge roster means not everyone can get equal treatment, and perhaps the team sees more potential in some characters vs. others. I do think they can move at a quicker pace with patches though. A couple updates every few months just feels too slow, so I'd like to see more of them. Smash is a much harder game to balance than most fighters, because the team needs to take into account the character's tools in a variety of play-styles, not just competitive, so that's possibly a contributor to the slow pace of updates.

I mean look at online in this game. It's a mess. In fact I would argue that it's considerably worse than Smash 4's online. How is that even possible? There are basic things that still have not been implemented like being able to queue up for doubles with someone online, being able to switch characters in between matches, being able to vote on what maps you want to play instead of the game just choosing for you, getting random rulesets with items enabled with stage hazards despite queueing up for 1v1 omega in elite smash.
I agree this needs to be fixed as well. They've added non-online features in previous updates though, so perhaps they can beef up the online more in future updates too.
 
Joined
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#4
Big con.
Smash could easily be one of the biggest esports if nintendo was remotely competent. There is so much room for improvement in ultimate, reduce input lag, better online, ranking/ladders, stage hazard toggle, better balancing, etc. Sakurai has this archaic idea that if smash is competitive, it will take away from the fun for casual players which just isn't true. I played melee almost daily as a kid for years without ever knowing what wavedashing was. Now I don't even think ultimate needs wavedashing and quite like the current system, but there is just so much room for improvement.
 

TheMisterManGuy

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#5
There is so much room for improvement in ultimate, reduce input lag, better online, ranking/ladders, stage hazard toggle, better balancing, etc. S
It isn't like they're not doing at least some of these things. They've been doing some good balancing, and have at least gave you the ability to turn off stage hazards. If they actually didn't care, we'd just have another Brawl gameplay wise. Ultimate does have room for improvement. But It's unfair to say Nintendo isn't working on it to some degree.

Sakurai has this archaic idea that if smash is competitive, it will take away from the fun for casual players which just isn't true. I played melee almost daily as a kid for years without ever knowing what wavedashing was. Now I don't even think ultimate needs wavedashing and quite like the current system, but there is just so much room for improvement.
You seem to once again be misconstruing Sakurai's actual thoughts on the competitive scene. Not once did he say that Smash shouldn't be competitive, he just doesn't believe in focusing solely on the competitive scene, nor should people view Smash as primarily a competitive fighter. The game was designed to be enjoyed in a variety of ways, including just casual fun. He doesn't focus on the competitive scene entirely because it's only a small part of the whole Smash Bros. experience.

The problem with Melee is that the skill floor to get good was too high for his liking. And so while you can have fun spamming items, actually being skilled with it requires playing essentially a different game. Sakurai is fine with playing Smash seriously, and embraces that on multiple occasions, but he doesn't believe the barrier to get skilled should be that huge. Finding a balance between accessibility and complexity is very hard to do in a fighting game, which is why many struggle to do that, even Smash has stumbled before.
 
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42McCl0ud

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#6
It isn't like they're not doing at least some of these things. They've been doing some good balancing, and have at least gave you the ability to turn off stage hazards. If they actually didn't care, we'd just have another Brawl gameplay wise. Ultimate does have room for improvement. But It's unfair to say Nintendo isn't working on it to some degree.



You seem to once again be misconstruing Sakurai's actual thoughts on the competitive scene. Not once did he say that Smash shouldn't be competitive, he just doesn't believe in focusing solely on the competitive scene, nor should people view Smash as primarily a competitive fighter. The game was designed to be enjoyed in a variety of ways, including just casual fun. He doesn't focus on the competitive scene entirely because it's only a small part of the whole Smash Bros. experience.

The problem with Melee is that the skill floor to get good was too high for his liking. And so while you can have fun spamming items, actually being skilled with it requires playing essentially a different game. Sakurai is fine with playing Smash seriously, and embraces that on multiple occasions, but he doesn't believe the barrier to get skilled should be that huge. Finding a balance between accessibility and complexity is very hard to do in a fighting game, which is why many struggle to do that, even Smash has stumbled before.
Dumbing games down doesn't help kids, balancing things around for competitive play makes everything and everyone better.
 

Arthur97

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#7
Dumbing games down doesn't help kids, balancing things around for competitive play makes everything and everyone better.
Because Shiek has always been fun in casual play even when she was good competitively. Balancing only for competitive forgets other modes. It forgets the fun of eight Ganondorfs punting each other around the stage just goofing off.
 

TheMisterManGuy

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#8
Dumbing games down doesn't help kids, balancing things around for competitive play makes everything and everyone better.
Sure, with any normal game, you can base your input solely on the competitive scene, which will improve the experience for everyone else. Smash is different. It's dual nature as a party game means it requires a more time consuming and meticulous approach to balancing that casual and competitive players are happy. This is probably why patches release at a slower pace vs. other fighters.

It's not a matter of dumbing things down, its about making things that are good in 1v1 competitive matches stay good, while not absolutely broken in 4v4 with timed items matches as well. It's a fine line to walk.
 
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TheMisterManGuy

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#10
smash would be a tier 1 esport if they actually cared
They do care. Just because flaunting massive prize pools and leagues everywhere doesn't mean they don't like or care about the Smash scene. It's a unique a approach, one that's not better or worse than the others.
 
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#11
Nintendo being more involved to the point of rivaling Capcom could also be a bad thing. They may demand certain rulesets that the community doesn’t want and they most certainly will prevent Melee, Project M, etc., from being played by refusing to support events that do not comply.
 

Up0n

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#12
IMO it is a huge con. The main reason that smash is thriving is based off of Esports and streamers/youtube. Most famous streamers/youtubers for smash are either competing in Esports or associate themselves in other ways (commentating, hosting online events, etc.). ZeRo has talked many times on stream about how it is just financially irresponsible at this point for famous smashers to compete in tournaments as the revenue gained by streaming services and youtube is above and beyond winning any/every major (assuming that you can win first place in every major for ultimate, although MkLeo is slowing proving that's very possible). This is coming from a man who was on a rampage in Smash4 and had the highest winnings.

Nintendo NEEDS to support tournaments, bottom line no doubt about it.
 
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#13
Nintendo NEEDS to support tournaments, bottom line no doubt about it.
Nintendo doesn’t “need” to support it. Yeah, they should for business reasons, but they don’t owe comp players a paycheck and those players shouldn’t be so arrogant that they see themselves as God’s gift to Nintendo, as some like Hbox have done in the past.
 

Wigglerman

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#14
I feel it's fine as they are doing now. They at least acknowledge the competitive scene now and have done more to try to cater to them as much as they do the casual players. I also believe they respect the grassroots style Smash is. While it's gotten larger and larger over time, the Smash community is still pretty 'alienated' from the rest of the FGC and eSports in general. Without Nintendo hovering over us 24/7, we can run events the way we want too without them interfering much in the way of HOW we play and allowing us to enjoy Smash the way WE want.
 

Predatoria

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#15
I'd caution being careful what you ask for regarding having Nintendo come in and run official tournaments.

I notice a lot of people in here stating they believe it is a con that Nintendo has a hands-off methodology when it comes to the competitive Smash scene.

What if that changed. What if tomorrow, Nintendo started hosting official tourneys in many regions. They came in and created their own set of tournament-standard rules. What if the rules were to include aspects of the game many people in the competitive scene view as having no place in the competition?

What if they wanted to host a tournament that let people equip spirits, stating they wanted players who had played more of the game's content to have a competitive edge?

What if they wanted to host a tournament that made use of all their maps, even ones seen by the community today as being uncompetitive?

What if their tournaments were to include the final smash meter, as it is an aspect of the game they did indeed spend a lot of time, energy, and resources developing.

Right now, whether you agree or disagree with this statement, the current competitive scene makes use of a small subset of the game's mechanics, stages, items, and gameplay modes. A very small subset. While the majority of competitive players see this as how it should be, what if Nintendo doesn't agree?

Right now, the competitive scene can set up their events and rulesets exactly as they wanted. If that were to change, you may see the community split. Those who "go rogue" and continue to host events on their own, without any attachment to Nintendo, and those who decide to follow Nintendo's rules.

Nintendo's idea of hosting a tourney may not be what you want, or what many people want. Right now we have a community that is united in what it wants to see out of competitive Smash.

Be cautious what you ask for.
 
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VodkaHaze

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#16
Allow me to make another argument against Nintendo's involvement. If Nintendo makes the next game cater too much for the competitive scene, then chances are it'll be a bad Smash game. That's what happened with Street Fighter V and Marvel vs Capcom Infinite, two half-baked games released by Capcom to get in on the competitive scene. The former in particular, since if you were a casual SF player and didn't care about competitive, it was a waste of money.

I know many competitive players don't like SF5 due to things like input lag, but let's think about Smash. Smash is a fighting game, but also a party game. Part of why it has broad appeal is they like to have Mario vs Sonic on Wily's Castle. If you make the game too centred around competition, then that's a large chunk of your audience you'll alienate.
 

BigDamnHero

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#17
I agree with Nintendo creating their own rulesets and prioritizing ways to funnel in an "everyday" audience into Smash's existing infrastructure.
I don't think Nintendo should be financially involved because I'm petty and I don't like them. Give the casuals money tho, they're cool.
 
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