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Published: October 25, 2023

Written by: Stefan Velikov

  • Small tournaments of up to 200 in-person or 300 online participants may be hosted without a license from Nintendo
  • These tournaments have to be non-profit and have a maximum fee for entry or viewing
  • It should be noted that these competitions are not officially endorsed by Nintendo, but still have to use their servers

Organizers of community and other “grassroots” tournaments regarding Nintendo games must look at the new extensive ruling that the company has recently announced.

Nintendo Issues New Rules

Nintendo is a company that has a reputation for issuing strict regulations on how third parties use their products. Recently, the company announced a series of new guidelines regarding the organization of small-scale community tournaments. However, these latest regulations might actually be good for grassroots competitions, as they do not require an official license from Nintendo to be hosted.

The extensive list of rules covers small non-profit events or community tournaments. The rulings state that said events may include up to 200 Participants for in-person tournaments or up to 300 Participants for online tournaments. Any entry fees collected from Participants may be used to cover the costs of organizing the tournament and towards prizing.

Speaking of prizes, they may not exceed a market value of £4,500 / €5,000 (about $5,300) in total. Admission fees from Spectators cannot be more than £14 / €15 per person (about $16). In keeping with the non-profit nature of the events, revenue from these fees is to only be used for the purpose of covering the costs of organizing the tournament and not used towards prizing.

Nintendo also stipulated that any such community tournaments are not affiliated with Nintendo and make no use of Nintendo trademarks or IP except as permitted by the guidelines. “Community Tournaments may not falsely imply Nintendo is associated with, sponsoring or otherwise affiliated with the event, and may not be presented as “official” or “endorsed” by Nintendo,” the ruling read.

“The names of Community Tournaments may not contain Nintendo trademarks or IP, such as Nintendo’s company name, logo, product or service names such as game titles, names adopted from Nintendo games such as character names. This includes any shortened or modified uses of Nintendo trademarks or IP.”

Speaking of said IPs, Nintendo is infamous for the strict protection of its franchises. Therefore, the company stated that the games used in the tournaments must be only those that have been officially launched or service has officially begun in the region where the Community Tournament is taking place. Additionally, any game with online play must use the online gameplay services and/or servers officially provided by Nintendo.

The list goes into more detail on the things we’ve discussed here, and it also answers some frequently asked questions, so if you’re planning to host a small local tournament, make sure to go through the new ruling.

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