The presentation of Nintendo Switch gives us this idea, but is Nintendo ready to enter into eSports?
When Nintendo showed its next console, called Nintendo Switch, it did not only show to the world the amazing things that it could do, but most important: that the console will be part of eSports. This possible affirmation caught everybody by surprise since Nintendo is not known for openly giving assistance or even encouraging competitive gaming. Sure, there’s competitive scene for its most popular title, Super Smash Bros, but officially, Nintendo never stood up for eSports tournaments. Instead of that they leveraged on giving partnerships. Until now. The last minute of its new trailer confirmed this.
Butdoes it mean that Nintendo is actually ready to jump into eSports industry?
Let’s talk about Nintendo Switch
On Switch’s trailer released Oct. 20, Nintendo has revealed clues of its desire to support the eSports industry, and its idea of a professional tournament using its new console. It can be noticed that Nintendo is preparing its entrance into competitive gaming, including Splatoon. According to Nintendo insiders, Splatoon is already meant for competitive play. In the trailer, the game can be ported to Switch, with its own specializations. All these ideas are not so far from reality: ESL has hosted multiple Splatoon tournaments, in partnership with Nintendo itself.
However, many game experts have uncertainties with the capacity of Switch to support heavy games as Nintendo showed. It has been also questioned Switchs hardware for tournaments. There are many questions open, that Nintendo has no response on. Still, with its portability well working Nintendo has a chance of bringing together players in connection with only in “real life”. As they did with Pokémon Go.
Launching Nintendo Switch, the company assumes its motivation to work with game developers around the world, looking for offers of their eSports departments. Nintendo also wants to include new partnerships with some well-known professional organizations, like Team Liquid, NaVi, Fnatic and Cloud9, for example. There are also indications that popular events like EVO, the largest fighting games tournament on the planet and Pokkén Tournament are on the list for future support.
Smash Bros or Platoon?
The potential of an invested Nintendo would mean proper tours for Super Smash Bros, because it’s hard to visualize the company goes anywhere deeply with eSports without a new release for Smashers, these players that kept the competitive scene alive for over a decade. If the trailers interpretation is correct and Nintendo does want to invest in eSports, it will need to choose between fan bases, at least in the beginning. It also means Smashers need to come to terms with what growth would really mean.
Because of the success of Splatoon on Wii U last year, particularly in Japan where it has low-tier tournaments, Nintendo might hope to use Splatoon deeper into the eSports field, moving to hold tournaments with an estimated prize pool of $1,000,000. The hype was good, but many critics say that is not enough to put the game on the top.
To reinforce Nintendo’s effort to make it right, a source of the company talked to PVPLive saying that
“I KNOW SPLATOON WAS A TEST RUN FOR A COMPETITIVE GAME, SO THEY’RE EITHER GONNA FLESH THE CURRENT GAME OUT, OR DO SOMETHING FOR THE SWITCH. FROM WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE, THEY AREN’T LOOKING TO MAKE A LOL, CS, OR OVERWATCH, THEY DON’T WANT TO BE A FRONT RUNNER; THEY JUST WANT TO BE A PART OF IT.”
Investing in eSports will demonstrate big value for Nintendo going forward and being less fearful about its past terms and its own games. With Switch, it’s probable that Nintendo is working on all the opportunities such as adding a competitive mode for the future Mario Kart, Splatoon or Smash Bros game. With the Switch console, Nintendo eSports games will be making huge adjustments to the social infrastructure.
Nintendo has a united community that has been on the companys side during some hard years. With the launch of Switch, maybe the time for Nintendo to reward that commitment has come. If they want it to have a hit, embracing eSports would be a good step forward to reach the top once again.
Edited by Marian Härtel