Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was previously announced as the headlining game of EVO Japan 2020, but everyone who is attending the event is already taking a major loss according to recent reports. Because of Nintendo’s aversion to classify Smash as an esports title as well as the overarching reach of the Japanese Esports Union (JESU), the event with the largest amount of participants are facing off for a limited edition version of a Switch controller that retails for $80.
Despite Smash entrants outnumbering Street Fighter V two-to-one, their reward is a lousy controller that is not traditionally used for the game to begin with. Smash fans and competitors alike usually stick with a GameCube controller, or at the very least, PowerA’s variant of the GameCube controller, and would almost certainly pass up the opportunity to play for money.
What Evo did for the Smash community:Dropped Melee from the official lineup in 2019Even when Ultimate was the largest event in Evo 2019(and in the history of the FGC!),it had a very small pot bonus compared to other events that year.Gave the Evo Japan winner a Pro Controller
— Dr. Dittos (DaPro) (@DaproDr) January 21, 2020
Street Fighter V and Tekken 7 winners look to collect anywhere between $550 to $9,000. Second tier titles such as Samurai Shodown, Soul Calibur VI, and BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle can bring home $272 to $4547 based on their placing. Though Smash eclipses these titles with entries, the only thing up for grabs is the controller with no runner-up prizes.
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The reasoning behind this stems from Nintendo’s apprehension to back Smash as an esports title and a fighting game, something that has been a firestorm of a debate within the fighting game community since Melee. Despite almost everyone considering Nintendo’s brawler a fighting game, Nintendo has stayed the course with regards to the game’s classification. Because Nintendo will not endorse the title for esports, and in turn will not register the title with JESU, JESU prohibits Smash tournaments in Japan to have monetary prizes.
As ridiculous as it is that a game that has more entries than the next three titles combined fighting for the most meager of prizes, it does reinforce Nintendo’s stance on the title – as well as paint an awkward picture on the state of Japanese esports ahead of a major tournament. Last year, JESU only awarded Yusuke Momochi $558 of a $46,000 prize for not registering with JESU prior to winning the Street Fighter V Asia Premier event.
While some will be playing for the infamous controller in Japan, the best Smash players in the world are converging for Genesis 7 that same weekend for a cash prize…which is how it should be.
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