In a rare acknowledgment of competitive gaming for the company, Nintendo has partnered with high school esports organizer PlayVS to make Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Splatoon 2 officially recognized varsity esports at participating high schools. The games will be added to PlayVS’ lineup of games for the Fall 2021 High School season. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will join the lineup in early 2022.
As part of the partnership, PlayVS and Nintendo will provide Switch consoles to “hundreds of select qualifying schools,” that participate in the competitions. Additionally, three thousand schools will receive a copy of either game and a 12-month Nintendo Switch Online membership.
Officially recognized tournaments for Nintendo properties are a rarity. Outside of occasional promotional events, the Splatoon World Championship, and the occasional online community event, there is little in the way of organized esports activity coming from the publisher. This partnership could be an indication that the company is ready to begin thinking about preparing to start potentially ramping up its activity in the esports space.
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