Monkey's Musings: How can Nintendo enter esports?
This is an opinion piece and does not represent the viewpoint of GAMURS.
Can a platform based on family fun spawn the next cycle of esport titles? There is already an overwhelming feeling surrounding the new Nintendo Switch console, coming out worldwide on March 3. Nintendo has made it known, through their advertising at least, that they are looking at esports in some capacity with Splatoon 2, both in their announcement trailer and by interviewing the UK Splatoon champions about the second game.
But, if the game does dive into esports, will it follow in a similar fashion to how Pokemon is run in-house or can Nintendo be willing to allow some of its biggest franchises to develop and become something more mainstream, while still keeping its family-friendly appeal?
Masahiro Sakurai, a Japanese video game designer, said it himself in the past when it came to updating the flagship fighting game for all Nintendo systems: Smash Bros. Sakurai feels that if the company focused on updating the game constantly for professional play, it would be the heart and soul of what the company stood for: fun. That is the major turning point here; whether or not Nintendo wants to make it big with games like Splatoon 2 and the next Smash Bros. title, falling on its traditions in order to create a compelling atmosphere.
If Nintendo elects to take this approach, then I believe there are two different scenarios they can choose from:
- Pokemon Company standards - Nintendo only has to look at The Pokemon Company and how they handle their competitive environment to see their similarities. Everything is handled in-house and made with the brand in mind. The Pokemon Company looks after competitive Pokemon in a regal manner, open to the public, livestreamed and above all, no sponsorships, meaning they can keep a family-friendly approach as everything is done out of their own pocket.
- Outside influence - Nintendo has already gifted its franchises (even though it took awhile) to other companies and tournaments, such as EVO and Gfinity (Smash Bros. and Splatoon respectfully) even if the latter was a one time instance that never repeated itself. However, this leaves the company with no direct control, and while it could be a better financial decision, trusting your IP on an external company may lead to negatives in the long run if not handled well.
Truth be told, Nintendo may just be teasing something that will never see the light of day, but it is always interesting to see what possibilities may arise in the future.
Adam Newell is a journalist for @GAMURScom and can be contacted in ways displayed below. If you have any tips or want anything covered, be sure to let us know:
Image via Nintendo