The Panda Cup is also in jeopardy with many competitors withdrawing from the event
The competitive Super Smash Bros. community is very different than it was a week ago, and it now includes one of the largest eSports organizations affiliated with the platform.
Following Panda Global’s initial announcement of the controversy surrounding the cancellation of the Smash World Tour and behind-the-scenes events, more than 80% of Panda’s players and commentators from Smash and The wider fighting game community seems to have abandoned the team so far.
At the time of reporting, top Melee contenders Cody “iBDW” Schwab and Justin “Plup” McGrath as well as Chris “WaDi” Boston, Ryan “Saint Cola” Collins, Zak “Coney” Zeeks, Terrence “TKbreezy” Kershaw, Marine and Victoria “VikkiKitty” Perez has both publicly announced her retirement or plans to do so.
“I’m leaving Panda,” Plup wrote on Twitter. “I really enjoyed my time there, and they took good care of me. I know that, at one point, they had the best interests of the community in mind. I don’t think I can support them anymore. Now I have to sleep for 1,000 years in preparation for the next tournament.”
It’s been about 4 months and I’m happy with the work done in that time and the people I’ve worked with and had the opportunity to learn more about. I’m not sure what’s coming but I know I’ll always find a way.
— TKbreezy 🎙 (@TKbreezy) December 3, 2022
This move from the company has already dropped the list of talent on the screen of Panda which has been confirmed by more than half with others, including Justin Wong, Victor “Punk” Woodley , Keenan “Kizzie Kay” Kizzie, Eduardo “HookGangGod” Deno and Little Z are removing mentions of Panda from their Twitter pages — though they haven’t made an official announcement yet.
The big response came after the Smash World Tour announced the 2022 championship and the entire 2023 season would need to be canceled after Nintendo reneged on the licensing deal.
Organizers of SWT have accused Panda and its general manager Alan Bunney of misconduct in their attempt to stage a major tournament for the exclusive Panda Cup, which has been officially sanctioned by the Nintendo.
Panda’s response to the allegations came 3 days later, but did little to quell the backlash from the Smash community and beyond.
I will not attend the Panda Cup.
Too little, too late. https://t.co/902CEl9VQe
— hungrybox 🏆🏆🏆 (@LiquidHbox) December 2, 2022
Several other popular games that are not supported by Panda have announced their intention to not attend the Panda Cup Finale including Liquid|Hungrybox, CLG|SFAT, Tempo|Axe, LG|Maister, Liquid|Dabuz, BC|Magi, Furia | Fatality, GG|Zain, VGBC|aMSa, C9|Mang0, Fiction, GG|n0ne, Wizzrobe, T1|MkLeo, CG|Medz, Pipsqueak, FLY|KoDoRiN, LUM|Ginger and CG|Eddy Mexico.
The Panda Cup has not been canceled and is currently scheduled for December 16–18, although you generally need to have players to compete.
Likewise, this leaves the future of the Panda eSports organization in jeopardy as well, considering their talent roster outside of FGC currently only includes 1 chess player according to their website.
To try and make up for the cancellation of the 2022 Smash World Tour Championship, popular streamer Ludwig announced his plans to host “The Scuffed World Tour” on December 18th with an invitation to the first 8 SWT competitors in Smash Ultimate and Melee with the goal of raising money to help VGBC and the players.
These are the 8 I will invite to each game- if anyone can’t attend we will go out with the highest number
We are also pleased to provide a total of $50,000 in prize money for the event
Hope it’s worth the time for the players! pic.twitter.com/NF4psOMlMD
— ludwig (@LudwigAhgren) December 2, 2022
Since its inception in 2015, Panda has quickly grown into one of the largest and most successful eSports organizations with a roster of players, commentators, content creators, streamers, statisticians and influencers. focus on Smash and FGC.
In the current situation, however, it may be difficult to recover from the workers who resigned en masse and the damage / destruction of trust in their relations with society.