An organization known as The Big House, which is known for it’s online Smash Bros. tournaments, was set to host a Smash Bros. Melee tournament from December 4 to 6. The event in question would have seen gamers compete in both Melee and the more recent Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which is currently out for the Nintendo Switch.
Because of social distancing measures made necessary by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the event was set to happen online, with Melee being played through an online mod called Slippi.
However, the event has been officially cancelled after a cease and desist order was issued by Nintendo of America. The Big House confirmed the cancellation in a tweet.
— The Big House (@TheBigHouseSSB) November 19, 2020
“The Big House is heartbroken to share we’ve received a cease and desist from Nintendo of America, Inc. to cancel our upcoming online event,” they said in the official announcement. “We were informed we do not have permission to host or broadcast the event, primarily due to the usage of Slippi. Sadly, all of our competitions are affected. We are forced to comply with the order and cancel Th Big House Online for both Melee and Ultimate. Refund information will be sent shortly. We apologize to all those impacted.”
Many were understandably upset at this news. Nintendo has partnered with many similar events in the past. As The Big House said, Nintendo’s objections all seem to center around their use of the online mod.
“Nintendo appreciates the love and dedication the fighting game community has for the Super Smash Bros. series,” Nintendo said in a statement regarding the move. “We have partnered with numerous Super Smash Bros. tournaments in the past and have hosted our own online and offline tournaments for the game, and we plan to continue that support in the future. Unfortunately, the upcoming Big House tournament announced plans to host an online tournament for Super Smash Bros. Melee that requires use of illegally copied versions of the game in conjunction with a mod called Slippi during their online event. Nintendo therefore contacted the tournament organizers to ask them to stop. They refused, leaving Nintendo no choice but to step in to protect its intellectual property and brands. Nintendo cannot condone or allow piracy of its intellectual property.”
While news of this cancellation might be upsetting to many, it does make sense. Nintendo can’t support an event that is illegally pirating games. It seems as though, had The Big House agreed to not use Melee through Slippi, the event would have been able to go on as planned.
Jas, the creator of Slippi, also issued a statement, citing disappointment in Nintendo “restricting our ability to power through these hard times.” He has suggested the hashtag #FreeMelee for any disgruntled fans to show their support.