Gaming YouTuber Ludwig Ahgren, widely known as Ludwig, shared in a video titled "I Got Sued by Nintendo" that a few months ago, Nintendo sent him a Notice of Infringement of Intellectual Property for modifying their popular game Super Smash Bros. Melee for his tournament. The modifications included altering the Pokémon Stadium stage to prevent random transformations. Ludwig claims the document also contained his personal address, preventing him from showing it to viewers.
Ludwig referred to the action as a "baby cease-and-desist" because Nintendo did not explicitly tell him to stop, but instead instructed him to follow their rules. The situation escalated when Nintendo recently imposed a set of restrictions for Super Smash Bros. tournaments, limiting participants to 200, capping prize pools at $5,000, banning sponsors, and requiring the use of the unmodified game version. Larger organizers, like Video Game Boot Camp, now need a special license from Nintendo to hold commercial tournaments. This development has caused concern within the community, from casual players to professionals, who fear the potential demise of the game's esports scene.
Acknowledging Nintendo's history of providing limited support to the grassroots community, tensions rose last year during a dispute between Nintendo and professional players and tournament organizers over the canceled Smash World Tour event. The controversy prompted some individuals to boycott events affiliated with Nintendo partners such as Panda Global, an esports organization. The future of Super Smash Bros. events remains uncertain.
Kotaku reached out to both Ludwig and Nintendo for comments on the situation. However, regardless of the restrictions imposed by Nintendo, the love for the game among fans remains unwavering. Pro player Joseph "Mang0" Marquez expressed this sentiment in Ludwig's video, stating that even if all else fails, players will continue to play Melee, even if it means doing so in a garage.