News Article

Nintendo Initially Requested a Shutdown of the Whole Smash Bros. EVO Event, Before Backtracking

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

It wasn't just the stream

We know that Nintendo, in recent months, has been attempting to assert greater control over its image and any representation of its IPs. It started claiming the advert money from monetized videos featuring its properties on YouTube, before subsequently backing down in some cases; it wouldn't be surprising if this was due to the overwhelmingly negative online reaction to that move. In a case of déjà vu, but with events moving far quicker, Nintendo reportedly tried to shut down the planned live stream of Super Smash Bros. Melee at EVO 2013 — an online storm ensued, and the company rapidly back-tracked and withdrew its objection.

That was a victory for the fans, it seemed, but it's since emerged that Nintendo wasn't merely seeking to prevent the live stream alone, but the actual Melee event itself. Speaking to OneMoreGameTV, EVO co-founder Joey "Mr Wizard" Cuellar stated that despite contacts in Nintendo that had previously said they couldn't see a problem with the event, the issue hadn't just been down to streaming online.

They were not only trying to shut down the stream, they were trying to shut down the event; the Smash portion of the event.

It's their IP, they can do whatever they want, and they didn't present us with any options to keep it open, they were just 'Hey, we want to shut you down. And we kinda wigwammed our way through it and they were fine with just shutting down the streaming portion of the event. And that was that. And we were not going to press any further. It's their IP, we respect Nintendo's decision to protect their IP, and we were going to comply with the legal department completely. So at that point it was over.

Cuellar unsurprisingly attributed the u-turn to "the bad PR they were getting" and "the power of the internet", and in the end the Melee section — which was there as a result of a fundraising fan campaign, after all — will go ahead as originally planned. It's the latest case of Nintendo (particularly Nintendo of America) falling foul of fans while trying to control the 'message' and coverage of its games, though Cuellar did make a point in this interview of offering his thanks to Nintendo for reversing its decision and allowing the event and live stream to go ahead.

Hopefully issues like this won't occur too often. As Nintendo surely knows, if fans are broadcasting and talking about their games — especially in Let's Plays and gamer events — then that can often be a major positive.


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User Comments (52)



edhe said:

So it wasn't a misunderstanding - just a bone-headed decision that turned around to bite them in the butt.



Knuckles said:

I would have guessed Nintendo wanted Brawl in the event instead of Melee, thats why they pulled the plug. I couldn't have been more wrong.



Kifa said:

Seriously - can anyone name any other example of a company shutting down a tournament in which their game was used "just because"? Because I surely can't, and I wouldn't even ever try to imagine anyone doing that. The amount of bad press, Internet rage and (possibly) customer loss would be just unthinkable.

And yet somebody at Nintendo thought it was a good idea to shut down a 11-year old Meelee tourney. I am starting to be really embarassed of being an advocate of their systems - company which does such things is on the verge of being not worthy of supporting.

And the fact that they backpedalled on it does not help at all. ;/



Undead_terror said:

So they don't want people to stream a old game that no longer sells retail which is on a old console that don't sell retail (besides wii but the newer models don't allow game cube play), a game that most people already have and beat? wow.



theblackdragon said:

If they're going to make a decision for the protection of their intellectual property, they should stick to it. waffling like this sets too confusing an example to others who may want to do a similar thing or host a similar event.



Mk_II said:

just a theory: what if they just they asked the wrong people at NoA? It appears that when the issue was escalated to higher management it was immediately reversed



SuperKMx said:


Tell that to the people at EVO... but keep on talkin. I love the negative responses on every website I go.

What do you expect? This was an utterly unfathomable and bone-headed move by Nintendo. There's no possible way in which they made the right call, up until they backtracked. Nobody's going to be saying "Yay, Nintendo were so right about this!" are they?



Kifa said:

@KaiserGX - And what kind of reaction would you expect? It's good they reversed their decision, but the bad press is already there, at least for me, just because how absurd this is.

@theblackdragon - What kind of "protection" are you talking about? And from what? Was there any violation happening there? Because I surely can see none...



theblackdragon said:

@Mk_II: that's another consideration — who exactly were they talking to in the first place? did those prior contacts who 'couldn't see a problem' have the authority to say it was probably okay? we've all seen strange responses and odd 'sure we can', 'no we can't', 'no no what you heard was wrong, of course we can' from Nintendo's customer service and representatives before :/

@Kifa: I was responding to the second paragraph of the EVO co-founder's statement where he said 'It's their IP, we respect Nintendo's decision to protect their IP...' — apparently from the conversations they'd had, they seemed to feel the decision had been made by Nintendo to protect their IP.



dumedum said:

So Nintendo is getting blamed for something they thought about but not doing. Thought Police much.



Haxonberik said:

Come on NOA, you are not in position to apply force to your fan base! Just the fact that they considered taking down the Smash tournament is sad.



wober2 said:

Kind of think Reggie should go. Nintendo of America has turned into this archaic joke that does not know its fan base.



Captain_Toad said:

Simply, EVO is a tournament for players worldwide to complete in the tournament-level fighting video game genre.

About this topic: Well at least we got a reason.... heh-heh understandably it's not to everyone's favor.



rmeyer said:

Nintendo isn't responsible for an unorganized group that didn't explain what they were doing very well. I'm sure Nintendo had no idea what they were doing. I think Nintendo was smart for being skeptical. The Internet didn't change their minds



Technosphile said:

The only reasoning I saw anywhere for this stupidity on Nintendo's part was that the latest version of the game was not the one being used. The one with random tripping which basically ruins competitive play.

Regardless; Nintendo is run by a gaggle of out of touch boobs, on both sides of the Pacific, this is just the most recent evidence.



Einherjar said:

Is strange to imagine that Nintendo on one hand, is one of the more customer firendly companys out there and, on the other hand, completely works against them.
Instead of working against EVO, they should promote or even invest into it. If smash bros gets recognized at EVO, it ensures a LOT of sales for the upcomming titles. That is a wonderful opportunity for nintendo to approach a "professional" fanbase. And i know, some of you think that smash cannot be a competetive "sport" but come on, everything can be competetive. We have speed chess tournaments...its like running 100m hurdle with an iron ball chained to your leg and its still recognized as competetive and official
Eitherway: They need to work out a better communication basis on both ends and maybe even a deal between the two, there is potential on both side to be had,
Im just happy to hear that the whole thing went the right way and EVO goers can enjoy a Smash tournament



Einherjar said:

@Technosphile As far as im informed, they are playing Melee, which is widely viewed as the supperior game and i sure can see why.
And what would they want with the latest game ? Its not even finished. EVO is a "professional" tournamnt, there is no place for a "slapped together beta build"



mamp said:

Aren't you basically agreeing with Technosphile? I think he was trying to make the same point as you about brawl being inferior to Melee.



dizzy_boy said:

It's a bit silly really on nitendo's part. Something like EVO could help fans of the smash series to get pumped for the new entry. Free advertising in my opinion.



Technosphile said:


Brawl is the latest version. The Wii one. With tripping.

If the Wii U Smash was going to be there, even as a "slapped together beta build", I'd be going to EVO myself.



DreamOn said:

Yet if it was an artist's music being used without permission no one would have thought it was dumb if the publisher got involved. Like any media that is not your own you need permission when it's more than private use.

Nintendo obviously wasn't contacted for permissions. That's the first dumb move in this story not N's reaction.



Stark_Nebula said:

@dumedum I'd say it's justified. This is not the first case and it's sort of added on top of the YouTube debacle. Everyone is starting to turn their heads because of consecutive attempts from Nintendo.



Einherjar said:

@Technosphile @mamp
Sorry, i misread Technosphile post earlier
And even with this standpoint, nintendo could turn the tables and profit from it big time. They could use Melee to open up the GCN Virtual Console, with a "as featured at EVO 2013" label slapped to it.
While other companies as struggling because they have too much stupid ideas, nintendo is struggling because they have so much potential and good ideas, that they simply refuse to set in motion. Instead, they are working against the consumer...strange.



Fillytase said:

"Protect their IP" from what? Free and hassle-free advertising from the single biggest fighting game tournament event? Okay then, NoA... I don't even care about the "flip flopping" aspect (after all, that could, as others have said, have been a matter of them speaking to the wrong people at first)--there's just no good reason I can see for them to want to shut it down in the first place. Maybe this has to do with Sakurai wanting Smash Bros. to return to being "casual-friendly" instead of seeming "hardcore," but "casual" players aren't exactly going to be tuning into EVO or even know what that is. -_-



t3g said:

Nintendo needs to seriously chill.

The Wii U is selling horribly, they are losing 3rd parties, and some are calling for Iwata and Reggie to step down. When they pull stuff like this and the thing earlier with the Let's Plays, it doesn't help their public image at all.

If you want a way to piss off your loyal, yet shrinking fanbase, don't do things like this!



Sinister said:

Nintendo really has to wake up. They are harming themself with these duck moves. The youtube thing was just the same. More and more people will just turn their back on them because on these stupid moves. Nintendo really has no idea what is happening at the moment.
Embrace the web culture perhaps even sponsor it. In the end you will geain more that way then trying to destroy it.



NintendoLee said:

I'm fairly confident this didn't happen. I hadn't heard of EVO before this, neither had a lot of my Twitter followers.

This gets publicity for EVO and makes people angry at Ninetndo. If Nintendo really had screwed them up that much why still use the game?



Peach64 said:

@NintendoLee Evo is the biggest beat em up tournament in the world. You claiming to have never heard of it says more about your knowledge of video game culture than their reputation. This definitely happened.

Why still use the game? Because they let people vote for the 8th game to be used in this year's tournament, providing all voters donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation first. The winner of the vote was Smash Bros. Nintendo tried to stop them using it there before backing down. Why would Evo then NOT use it? People voted for it, and they're giving the people what they want.



PKUltima said:

Nintendo needs to re-educate their legal department so they won't make such boneheaded decisions.



gblock said:

If/When Nintendo becomes a former shell of itself, at least we have a wonderful back catalogue to go back and play...



TingLz said:

@PKUltima You mean that legal department that saves them millions of dollars each year from patent trolls?

This is also a prime example of a typical internet reaction: "BOO Nintendo! You're terrible" (followed by purchasing the next Smash game )



TheKachoMan said:

Real surprise, 80%+ people on the internet think everything is free to use as they wish. The term IP has some meaning.

If this event was making money in any way, including charity, it definitively needs written permission! I'll bet someone is getting a check other than a charity. It is obvious this could have been avoided with written communication from the folks running this event.

Try rebroadcasting a MLB or NFL game for charity without permission. Why is that different folks?

Now it's all hashed out and Nintendo fully understands the situation and they made a good call... but I'll bet it is in writing now.



PKUltima said:

I never said that Nintendo is terrible, I actually think the EVO situation has been blown way out of proportion; but, Nintendo's legal department does needs to know that threatening to shut down a charity event is completely unacceptable. Look, their legal department does a really good job at defending Nintendo from lawsuits but you have to admit that threatening to shut down a whole tournament because they want to stream people playing a 12 year old game is bit of an overreaction.



theblackdragon said:

@PKUltima: They didn't want to shut down the entire event, just the Smash portion. Then they agreed to allow the Smash portion provided it wasn't livestreamed, and then they changed their minds altogether.

Also, so what if it was for charity? Like I said in the first article about this kerfluffle, if you choose to raise money for charity by allowing people to vote via their donations for which person's vehicle they get to see the event organizer tool around town in, and $90,000+ worth of people choose my truck, do I somehow lose the right to say 'no, you can't use my truck' just because the event is being done for charity?



PKUltima said:

You make a very, very good point with what you just said. Thank you for bringing up the overlooked fact that they were trying to make money (even though it's charity) from Nintendo's IP without asking permission. That means that the EVO people are actually in the wrong here, even though Nintendo's legal staff may have acted too hastily.



Trikeboy said:

Have any of you ever read your software license that Nintendo put with their games? They are for home use and not for public display. Nintendo had every right to deny Melee from being shown.



GamerZack87 said:

"What are you playing at Nintendo?"
Nintendo looks up at GamerZack7 with an adorable "I'm sorry!" look on its face
"Don't give me those puppy-dog eyes! That won't work on..."
Nintendo whines and begins to sob
"Aw, I can't stay mad at you! Of course you're forgiven!"



MaverickHunterX said:

Nintendo is doing what any other corporation would do if someone was using their IP without their permission.

It's like someone breaking into house just to show-off your TV to other people.
Yeah it was nice gesture, but you could have asked first, before I called the cops.



Luffymcduck said:

And I think that it´s great that there´s at least one multiplayer title on Nintendo, that´s HC and still played in tournaments.



kevkeepsplaying said:

I'm failing to see a reason for the harsh feelings, as they didn't actually pull down the event OR the stream.



Henmii said:

Nintendo is crazy nowadays! Pissing of their loyal fans, while at the same time not attracting new people! That's the way to survive!!!

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