The Smash World Tour has announced that its next championship tournament and the 2023 World Tour have been cancelled after Japanese gaming giant Nintendo asked the event organisers to halt operations "without any warning."
The Verge reports that the championship tournament was scheduled to take place between December 9-11.
"In 2022 alone, we connected over 6,400 live events worldwide, with over 325,000 in-person entrants, making the Smash World Tour (SWT) the largest esports tour in history, for any game title," Smash World Tour was quoted as saying.
"The Championships would also have had the largest prize pool in Smash history at over $250,000," it added.
The offer was made shortly after the Japanese gaming giant unveiled the Panda Cup, its only licensed tournament circuit for Super Smash Bros. in collaboration with esports company Panda.
"They made it clear that Pandaa s partnership was not exclusive, and they said it had not gone unnoticed that we had not infringed on their IP regarding game modifications and had represented Nintendo's values well," said the open letter from SWT.
The statement goes on to charge Panda CEO and co-founder Alan Bunney with sabotage, accusing that he dissuaded Smash World Tour 2022 tournament organisers by misinforming them that the event was being cancelled and that any events that took part in the Panda Cup would not be permitted to be on the Smash World Tour.
In response to the SWT team's open letter, Nintendo stated: "Unfortunately after continuous conversations with Smash World Tour, and after giving the same deep consideration we apply to any potential partner, we were unable to come to an agreement with SWT for a complete circuit in 2023.
"Nintendo did not request any changes to or cancellation of remaining events in 2022, including the 2022 Championship event, considering the negative impact on the players who were already planning to participate."
The report said that the Smash World Tour estimates that the shutdown will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, but it assures all attendees of the cancelled events that they will receive full refunds.