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Nintendo announced today a partnership with competitive gaming organization Panda Global to create esports events for Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

This is surprising in a couple of ways. Nintendo has rarely invested in esports. When it does, it usually does so alone. Here, Nintendo is partnering with an esports group that has experience putting on Smash events.

Second, Nintendo usually only endorses esports for its newest games. So while seeing them work to put on a tournament for Switch’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate isn’t too shocking, Melee is almost 20 years old. But the GameCube title still has a lot of fans, especially in the hardcore fighting game community. Nintendo is finally embracing that.

This new series of tournaments will take place in North America and start in 2022.

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