News + #FreeMelee and #FreeSplatoon mark the beginning of a new break between Nintendo and its community

News + #FreeMelee and #FreeSplatoon mark the beginning of a new break between Nintendo and its community

Despite the various titles of undoubted quality that she developed herself, it is clear that Nintendo has much more than a problem with regards to the communicative side and the interaction with its own community.

By now the so-called Cease and Desist sent by the big N to anyone who touches its IPs are considered almost like any meme, a symbol of the "tyranny" that the giant videogame company seems willing to impose on anyone who wants to take advantage of its products.

There is certainly room for discussion as to whether these actions are justified or not (and in some cases we can at least agree), but today we are going to examine two events that recently inflamed two of the most active communities in the panorama of Nintendo Switch, or the so-called #FreeMelee protests and the repercussions suffered by both the Smash Bros. and Splatoon communities.

The suspension of “The Big House Online” as a dangerous precedent

On November 19th, the "The Big House Online" tournament, which was to host both Smash Melee and Ultimate competitions, received a C&D from Nintendo itself, forcing the organizers to cancel the event entirely and to send any refunds to the participants.

- The Big House (@TheBigHouseSSB) November 19, 2020

The reason? Apparently the hostilities of the big N have focused on a particular fanmade software used called Slippi, a program that, in layman's terms, allows players to compete online with Smash Melee, otherwise impossible in the original Gamecube version.

If we take into consideration, therefore, the banal legal point of view, Nintendo is definitely not wrong, also because such software can only work on a PC and therefore requires the use not of an original copy of Melee, but of a ROM.

But the matter is much more complicated than that, and reducing it to a simple "Piracy bad" would not do it justice in any way.

Preserve the intellectual property of an Abandonware?

Let's start, first, with the simplest reason why someone should play with Slippi instead of an original copy on Gamecube: with the COVID-19 pandemic currently underway, big hangouts like live tournaments are completely out of the question.

Without the ability to play normally online, the Smash Melee community can survive only through Slippi, and if in a hypothetical future Nintendo sent a C&D to the creator of this software, it would inevitably lead to the death of the entire competitive circuit.

News + #FreeMelee and #FreeSplatoon mark the beginning of a new break between Nintendo and its community

Another very controversial point of the matter is that, according to Nintendo itself, all these actions were taken "to safeguard its intellectual property from piracy", although there is currently no legal method to find the title (thus returning to all effects in the Abandonware category).

So if you don't pirate it, the only way to get it is to give money to individuals who own a physical copy, but in that case Nintendo doesn't earn substantially anything.

It is therefore right to demonize those who use ROMs and keep alive for free a game not supported for nearly 20 years?

Obviously it could be objected that, in case there is a hypothetical remaster of Melee in the works for Switch, this criticism in particular could fall very quickly, but in the absence of statements on the matter, it remains more than legitimate to ask similar questions.

News + #FreeMelee and #FreeSplatoon mark the beginning of a new break between Nintendo and its community

With all this information at hand, therefore, it is already possible to frame these actions of the Japanese company more like a whim than a need, which is why fans of the title were particularly warmed to the news and started using the hashtag #FreeMelee to express their disappointment.

The matter, however, does not stop there, and here we come to the involvement of the Splatoon community in the matter.

#FreeSplatoon - how to lose the support of an entire community in a single day

If there is one thing that became immediately evident, it is that the Nintendo communities remain very united, a fact made evident by the rapid spread of the #FreeMelee protests within other competitive circuits, first of all that of Splatoon 2.

In fact, the tweet of Splatoon News, a Twitter account not affiliated with Nintendo but very recognized and used among fans, which announces its support to Slippi, stating that it intends to donate $ 24 for each Splatoon team that had participated in the upcoming NA Open tournament with names in support of #FreeMelee.

The initiative had an excellent adhesion, with a more than significant percentage of teams that managed to qualify with names in support of Melee or Slippi (about 30%, you can find all the qualified teams on the BattleFy dedicated page), among which are Melee Nation and InC #FreeMelee, who qualified, respectively, in second and seventh place in the general classification.

So here we come to December 5, the date on which, on the official discord of the tournament, the suspension of streaming of the finals "due to unexpected executional challenges".

Kind of funny that they'll sever their own "support" that they love to parade around as something so fantastic, just because the Splatoon community wanted to stand in solidarity with the other scenes that Nintendo outright harms. # Freemelee #savesmash pic.twitter .com / 3F77b19pDE

- Slimy (@SlimyQuagsire) December 5, 2020

There have been no precise statements on the reason for the suspension, but given the enormous support from the teams for the Smash Melee protests, it is not difficult to associate the two facts and see some sort of willingness from Nintendo to check for image damage as much as possible.

Certainly this reasoning did not work, given the amount of negative feedback received on social networks in the following hours and the dissemination of a second hashtag to protest, that is #FreeSplatoon.

At the moment the big N has not yet released any other statements regarding the suspension of the streams, but it is evident that with its actions it has created a deep break with its competitive communities.

EVO 2013, MLG and the troubled relationship between Nintendo and eSports

Although the events of #FreeMelee mark a first and worrying precedent, it is by no means the first time that Nintendo has shown an almost morbid skepticism and fear towards the eSports sector.

Emblematic was the case ofEVO 2013, from which the Tokyo-based company was initially interested in removing the entire segment dedicated to Smash, as stated by the same Co-Founder of EVO, to then retract and express only interest in suspending Smash Melee streams.

News + #FreeMelee and #FreeSplatoon mark the beginning of a new break between Nintendo and its community

Even the latter option, however, was excluded due to the backlash caused by the Smash Melee community, but it was certainly a first alarm bell.

Or again, the troubled relationship with the Major League Gaming (MLG), with which Nintendo seems to have always approached, between 2004 and 2014, in a disinterested and inexplicably aggressive way.

Between the support that is absent to say the least and the constant opposition for the airing of the matches, it is not strange that since 2014 there seems to be no more interest in dedicating a segment of the event to the series.

Without Nintendo, the fandom goes on

While the loss of Nintendo support may be a problem, especially with regards to Melee's tournaments, fans have already begun to work to make up for its lack and carry on their passion.

The Grand Final of #TheSquidHouse is here! @FTWavedash vs. @South_Lght for the largest prize pool in Splatoon history!

The prize pool will be capped at $ 25,000, with any additional funds raised going to charity! Https: //

- EndGameTV (@EndGame_TV) December 6, 2020

Regarding Splatoon 2, for example, thanks to user donations, EndGameTV was able to collect over $ 25.000 to be given away for the winners of the fanmade tournament The Squid House, an unprecedented figure for any tournament of the title (official or not).

News + #FreeMelee and #FreeSplatoon mark the beginning of a new break between Nintendo and its community

Nintendo and nostalgia While Super Mario 64, Sunshine, and Galaxy are both considered sacred monsters of the genre and not, a lazy, limited-time collection might not have been the smartest way to commemorate them.

This shows that for all intents and purposes the support of Nintendo, as regards smaller fanmade tournaments, may not be necessary, only sorry that we have to get to ask fans for help for something that videogame companies normally manage without any problem.

And this is the problem that the great N seems to have. Her IPs have an out-of-the-ordinary following and community support, yet, due to flawed communication and a mentality that seems to be stuck 20 years ago, does not seem to want to fully exploit its potential.

So there are several questions that you could start asking yourself, and that it would be good for us to keep in mind as consumers and brand lovers.

Was it really necessary to go to certain extremes in order to preserve an intellectual property now put in the drawer and not reused for decades? Wasn't it better to take advantage of it and exploit it to make the brand grow even more? Or has Nintendo arbitrarily decided that a title far from its golden years doesn't deserve a second moment of glory? We cannot know.

What is certain is that, in a world where it exists Super Mario 3D All Star, the idea that Nintendo puts the historical identity of its IPs before their accessibility is far from far-fetched.

It will come as no surprise, then, that the next generation will consider the enthusiastic narratives of a generic Smash Melee. like mere rants of nostalgic boomers, stuck in the past and without eyes towards the present.

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