Nintendo’s new tournament rules are live, killing Smash Melee’s biggest online event

The first casualty of Nintendo's guidelines was actually precautionary.

Jigglypuff using a failed Rest in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Screenshot by Nintendo

Nintendo’s new Community Tournament Guidelines have gone into effect today for all new tournaments that weren’t already announced for the remainder of 2023, which has officially killed Super Smash Bros. Melee’s biggest online event series.

While Hungrybox initially stated he would run his Coinbox series until January and beyond until Nintendo directly told him to stop, that ended up being a pipedream in the face of Nintendo’s new rules.

According to the top Melee star, Team Liquid owns the Coinbox brand and made the call to cease its Melee portion of the series early to avoid any legal challenges from Nintendo.

In his original statement from Nov. 8, Hbox confirmed Liquid will be applying for a Nintendo license to host future events through the proper channels—and there is a strong chance Ultimate Coinbox will be able to continue beyond 2023. However, Melee Coinbox has basically no chance of being approved because it makes use of Slippi, a community-created mod that adds online play to the 2001 GameCube title.

“Pre Team Liquid, there is no chance for such [a license] compliance for Melee, and [the organization] would rather not invite the challenge,” Hbox said at the time. “Instead, for the sake of the tournament series, they would like to take a collaborative approach where Coinbox can continue to exist. This was not my decision.” 

As a result of that decision, the final Melee Coinbox of this online era was run on Tuesday, Nov. 14, with more than 800 players competing for one last ride. This included many of the current top players and Coinbase, the title sponsor of the event, doubling the usual $3,000 prize pool to $6,000 to celebrate the Melee portion of its series ending.

Jmook dominated the event, with his Sheik dropping just a single game and finishing out with a 9-0 run in the top eight to claim the final Melee Coinbox title. Meanwhile, Hbox exited in 33rd, including a loss to Mekk’s Ganondorf, which he claims is the first time he has lost to that character in 12 years at any event.

Despite the somber end to Melee Coinbox, Hbox and his partners did have a surprising announcement—they will be launching the first Coinbox IRL this December.

The event will be an Invitational in the spirit of Smash Summit to an extent, where previous Ultimate Coinbox champions will be flown out to compete in Washington DC on Dec. 17. It is slated to be an exhibition-style event, but more details will be shared in future and could change into something “much cooler” once Liquid know if they can obtain an official tournament license for it. 

Depending on how that event runs and the variability of Nintendo’s new guidelines, the future for in-person Melee still looks relatively bright—with Hbox even hinting at a potential Melee Coinbox return in an IRL format.

“Even if there is no Melee Coinbox, it doesn’t mean we aren’t able to host larger-scale in-person events. Potentially even the first Melee Coinbox Major, all in-person,” Hbox said. “Even though we are saying goodbye to the online Melee Coinbox, there is always more in the tank. There’s always something else we can do.”

Now we just have to wait to see how comprehensive and easy to access Nintendo’s new licensing process is, and if any other limitations could impact future tournaments for Melee and Ultimate, along with other games such as Splatoon and Mario Kart.


Cale Michael
Lead Staff Writer for Dota 2, the FGC, Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and more who has been writing for Dot Esports since 2018. Graduated with a degree in Journalism from Oklahoma Christian University and also previously covered the NBA. You can usually find him writing, reading, or watching an FGC tournament.

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