North American esports organisation Panda Global has announced a partnership with video game company Nintendo.
As a result of the deal, the two parties will collaborate to operate the first licensed circuits for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Super Smash Bros. Melee in North America.
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The circuit is set to begin in 2022 with information on in-person and online events expected to be revealed in the coming months. Details on prizing for the circuit were not disclosed.
Bill Trinen, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Nintendo of America, spoke on the collaboration in a release: “This partnership with Panda Global is the next step in Nintendo’s efforts to create a more consistent, fun, and welcoming competitive environment for our players and fans.
“We are proud to stand with an organization like Panda Global to celebrate and support the ever-growing competitive Super Smash Bros. community, and create a space where all players can test and hone their competitive skills.”
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Winners of the qualification rounds for both titles will advance to compete in the grand finals where the eventual champions will be decided. Alongside players from the United States, participants from Canada and Mexico will be eligible once Panda Global and Nintendo permit international travel.
Nintendo’s involvement may come as a surprise to some after the company issued a cease and desist to tournament organiser The Big House after its Ultimate and Melee tournaments moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Alan Bunney, CEO of Panda Global, also commented: “One of our key missions at Panda Global is to serve our communities in new and exciting ways. By partnering with Nintendo, we are giving our competitors in North America the chance to compete in an officially licensed Super Smash Bros. circuit for the first time.”
Esports Insider says: Having relied on third-party and community tournaments for several years, seeing Panda Global join forces with Nintendo to host an official circuit for Ultimate and Melee is hugely positive news for the esport.