UPDATE FROM PLAYVS:
In the past 24 hours, a screenshot of a communication from a PlayVS employee on our Discord server has been widely shared around the internet. We want to clarify that statement was not approved by PlayVS leadership and it contained a misrepresentation of the facts. PlayVS and Nintendo have been engaged in discussions about how to best support the competitive gaming community and help it grow. At no time has Nintendo expressed any desire to stifle this community.
We deeply regret that this statement has unfairly put Nintendo in a negative light. Nintendo has been an excellent partner to us and all of our conversations have revolved around adding to an already passionate community and never about taking anything away from the competitive Smash scene. We look forward to continued, fruitful discussions and collaborations in the future that elevate the esports space.
Nintendo has reportedly asked PlayVS not to offer Super Smash Bros Ultimate as part of their collegiate esports league. PlayVS had previously planned to introduce Smash Ultimate during the Spring 2021 season.
St. Clair College professor and varsity esports director Shaun Byrne shared the announcement from PlayVS’ Discord server on December 18. According to that statement, PlayVS dropped Ultimate “at the request of the publisher, who wants to wait to restart their College initiatives at a later date.”
This language may seem painfully familiar to many members of the competitive Super Smash Bros. community. In the past, Nintendo allegedly agreed to start a Smash circuit with Twitch, only to delay the process and prevent any third-party circuits from forming. As a result, many Smash community members believe Nintendo doesn’t actually intend to “restart” a collegiate league apart from PlayVS. (Nintendo has never actually started any sort of college initiative in the first place.)
"Restart their College Initiatives"
That should say "start"
Ran the largest college league in Smash from 2014-2017 and Nintendo didn't do jack to help us https://t.co/86NtjYdAoL
— Matt (@DotZeb) December 19, 2020
More about Nintendo and the PlayVS collegiate Smash Ultimate league
This isn’t the first time Nintendo’s interference with competitive Smash has touched the Ultimate scene. For example, when Nintendo targeted The Big House over the Melee mod Slippi, the Ultimate bracket was canceled as well. However, the PlayVS collegiate Smash league appears to be the first Ultimate-only circuit that Nintendo has shut down.
Notably, many members of the Super Smash Bros. Melee community have spoken up about this situation. William “Leffen” Hjelte made a video about Nintendo’s decision and shared it with the #FreeUltimate hashtag. In addition, Slippi developer Jas “Fizzi” Laferriere accused Nintendo of being “anti-competition.”
It's just becoming increasingly clear that Nintendo is just purely anti-competition
Imagine how excited any other developer would be about an org promoting their game and brand to college students. Very likely to increase sales for DLC or next iteration#FreeMelee #FreeUltimate https://t.co/7JUbG2vgVM
— Jas | FIZZI#36 (@Fizzi36) December 19, 2020
PlayVS hosts high school and college-level esports leagues for several games, including Madden, FIFA, Overwatch, Rocket League, and Fortnite. The organization even offers scholarships for varsity esports players. However, Smash likely won’t ever make an appearance in a PlayVS collegiate league thanks to Nintendo.