September 29, 2023

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Nintendo condemns alleged abuse in Smash Bros community

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A giant Super Smash Bros figure is seen at Nintendo’s E3 2014 booth

Nintendo has condemned alleged abuse by well-known competitive gamers as “absolutely impermissible”.

In the space of a week, dozens of allegations of inappropriate behaviour have been made against competitors in Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros fighting game series.

Several of the allegations involve young teenagers and older players.

It comes as part of a wider “MeToo” style movement in the fighting game and wider gaming communities.

The allegations surrounding the Super Smash Bros competitive community are wide-ranging, from inappropriate sexual messages to sexual relationships with minors on the sidelines of tournament events, and even accusations of rape.

In a statement provided to the media, Nintendo said: “We are deeply disturbed by the allegations raised against certain members of the competitive gaming community. They are absolutely impermissible.

“We want to make it clear that we condemn all acts of violence, harassment, and exploitation against anyone and that we stand with the victims.”

Nintendo is not normally the organiser of such tournaments – instead, they are often organised by the community itself.

Large numbers of competitors sometimes shared houses – which had included under-age players sharing accommodation with older ones.

Many of the accused players have issued statements giving their own side of the story or refuting allegations made against them.

However, several sponsors and brands have cut ties with well-known figures.

Evo knocked out

Separately, the largest fighting game tournament of the summer, EVO Online, did not go ahead as planned over the 4 July weekend, amid wider concerns of abuse in the fighting game community.

Evo’s president, Joey Cueller, was accused of inappropriate behaviour involving under-age competitors.

As a result, three major creators of fighting games – Bandai Namco, Capcom, and Netherrealm – all announced they were pulling out of the event, days before it was scheduled to begin.

Mr Cueller “will no longer be involved with Evo in any capacity”, the organisation said in a statement.

“Progress doesn’t happen overnight, or without the bravery of those who speak up against misconduct and injustice. We are shocked and saddened by these events,” it said.

Mr Cueller, in a now-deleted tweet, wrote: ” I never meant to hurt anyone. I was young and reckless and did things I’m not proud of. I have been growing and maturing over the past 20 years, but that doesn’t excuse anything.”

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The Evo Online event, scheduled to begin that weekend and run every weekend for several weeks, was cancelled.

The current wave of allegations is not just confined to the fighting game community.

Game streaming site Twitch has issued a wave of bans to its content creators after a surge in reports of abusive behaviour. And developer Ubisoft, known for the Assassin’s Creed series of games among others, has launched an internal investigation into the conduct of members of its staff.

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