Nintendo is Setting Its Sights on eSports

The eSports community has grown to staggering heights within the last couple of years, with many genres now becoming synonymous with the growing activity. Several MOBAs, FPS’, racers and fighters are known not just for their commercial success, but also because of their large popularity in many gaming tournaments. A lot of big companies, including major hardware and software developers, have taken strong notice of the tournaments and even have sponsorships with the events and competing teams. Although a little late to the party, Nintendo now also setting its sights on the growing market.

Last week, the company finally revealed its new system — the Switch. The reveal trailer was a lot different from what we’re used to coming from Nintendo, but in a good way (no kids or overly-perfect families!). One scene which got a lot of attention was towards the end of the trailer where we saw several young adult Splatoon players preparing battle strategies before heading off to what was very obviously an eSports tournament. The scene that followed showed off just how versatile the new system is for such an event. This wasn’t just a “what-if” situation, either. According to various (unnamed) sources, the Big N really is making its way into the eSports scene.

According to a source intimate with eSports team management:

 “I know Splatoon was a test run for a competitive game, so they’re either gonna flesh the current game out, or do something for the Switch.”

Some organizations which are heavily identified with eSports have apparently also been in contact with Nintendo as far back as early July during Dreamhack Austin. There have apparently been discussions on an international scale, as American, Japanese and European competitive teams have all been in contact with Nintendo. Unsurprisingly, the games that are being explored are Pokken Tournament and Super Smash Bros., in addition to Splatoon.

Another source claims that the Big N doesn’t want to play a huge role in the eSports community, but simply just wants to support it:

“From what it sounds like, they aren’t looking to make a LoL, CS, or Overwatch. They don’t want to be a frontrunner; they just want to be a part of it.”

While Nintendo is apparently taking a modest approach now, if the Switch really does end up being a big success, especially in the eSports market, it wouldn’t be surprising if the company then becomes a little more aggressive. eSports doesn’t look like it will be slowing down in growth anytime soon, so now is a good time for Nintendo to jump in. Speaking of which, it looks like the wheels have already began turning:

The tweet above shows that Nintendo has teamed up with Battlefy for a small tournament featuring Splatoon that begins next month. Of course this will mean that the Wii U will be starting Nintendo’s eSports journey, but the transition to the Switch shouldn’t be too hard. As mentioned before, the console’s unique hybrid design makes it practically the perfect device for events like this. If third-party support really ends up being as strong as what is being teased, then the system should definitely take off in the eSports market thanks to the many other big games from different developers in addition to Nintendo’s own.

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A.K Rahming
Having been introduced to video games at the age of 3 via a Nintendo 64, A.K has grown up in the culture. A fan of simulators and racers, with a soft spot for Nintendo! But, he has a great respect for the entire video game world and enjoys watching it all expand as a whole.