Play Hard, Make History

In a recent interview with Nikkei (translated by Japanese Nintendo), Nintendo president Furukawa suggests Nintendo's lack of monetary prize support isn’t a weakness in the company’s esports strategy, which he said prioritises inclusiveness.

“Esports is where players compete on stages while revolving around prize money, and spectators enjoy watching that. It launches one of the amazing appeals of video games,” Furukawa said.
“But there is no sense of antagonism. In order to make our company’s games be played by a broad range of people, regardless of experience, gender, or generation, we also want to make our events joinable by a broad range of people.
“Being able to have a different world view from other companies – without a large sum of prize money – is our strength,” Furukawa claimed.
Plug & Play Stupid

I think I got it;

  • He is not questioning the merits of esports, he is saying that Nintendo as a company is better off not being in esports
  • He is literally saying that new customers are created at big friendly Nintendo booths at where everyone can walk up and play games, not at tournaments for hardcore players
  • Most importantly (I think), he is afraid that potential customers will look at the tournament/spectacle and mentally decide that they're "not the right type" to play the game. That's a customer lost forever
  • Thus "not even having a budget" isn't a weakness in Nintendo's esports strategy, as the entire strategy is to lean back, keep calm and continue doing nothing


However the fact that Smash esports is happening, regardless of Nintendo's involvement, kinda invalidates his entire "esports strategy".

Ignoring that something is happening, doesn't magically sprinkle some more inclusiveness onto the world.

If anything, it's probably having the exact opposite effect.