The near-cancellation of Super Smash Bros. Melee at Evo 2013 turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
After being unceremoniously yanked from Evo 2013 by Nintendo and then being restored just as quickly, the Super Smash Bros. Melee section of the popular fighting game tournament went on to break the event’s viewership records by a landslide.
It all began roughly a week ago when Nintendo reached out to Evo 2013 organizers informing them that they didn’t have permission to stream video content for Super Smash Bros. Melee which, despite being over a decade old, remains as the preferred Super Smash game amongst tournament players. The news was an especially painful blow to take considering that a large fundraising effort, which raised more than $90,000 dollars for breast cancer research, had been held in order to include Melee in the tournament.
Then, within hours of the original announcement, Nintendo changed its mind. Evo organizers happily reported that they’d received a new statement from Nintendo saying that they could host and stream Super Smash Bros. Melee as was originally planned. No reason was given for the sudden change of heart but it wouldn’t be too hard to imagine that fan outcry and all of the potential PR backlash had something to do with it.
Nintendo’s decision to restore Melee to the Evo 2013 lineup turned out to be a very smart move on their part as the Super Smash Bros. Melee section of the tournament ended up breaking the event’s viewership records, pulling in over 100,000 concurrent viewers. According to a tweet sent out by Evo co-founder Tom Cannon, that made Super Smash Bros. Melee the most watched fighting game in history.
For now, Smash Bros Melee is the most watched fighting game in history, with 100k concurrent #evo2013 viewers!— Tom Cannon (@ProtomCannon) July 14, 2013
Hopefully this will open up Nintendo’s eyes a bit more and make them see that trying to restrict viewership of their content (which they also did recently with YouTube users who were generating income with videos featuring Nintendo games) will never end well. It’s understandable that the company would want to protect their games and creative assets but if they honestly think that they can try to suppress this kind of publicity and remain favorable in the public eye, they’re in for a rude awakening.