Did Nintendo bless a seven-figure Splatoon tournament series? Not exactly.

Nintendo might believe that it shouldn’t play to smaller crowds and independent events, but it certainly believes in putting its brand name out in as many places as it can in the form of sponsoring events. The Splatoon news that came out this morning hit fans of the game’s hype button pretty directly — Nintendo was reportedly starting a tournament series with a seven-figure prize pool after all — but even after a second look at the reports and translations of Japanese posts, it seems there’s still plenty to be excited about in the future.

This surprise nugget of Nintendo-related news dropped this morning regarding a little shooter for the WiiU called Splatoon:

If being able to understand Japanese isn’t a skill you can claim, rest assured that someone on the Internet will translate the pertinent information and publish it. My Nintendo News usually gets the overseas reporting spot-on.

The report says that two Nintendo titles, Splatoon and Puzzle & Dragons, will be featured as part of a new tournament series that is comparable to the Capcom Cup. Game Party Japan GP. The GP is a series of 40 different events held in eight Japanese cities starting in the middle of September. The tournament will pay out the equivalent to $1m+ USD in prize money over four months of competitions.

Nintendo isn’t officially putting the prize money up for the tournament series, but, in a way, they have given their royal assent to a tournament series of this scale.

At this point, I think it’s worth it to explain a little bit about the organizations sponsoring the tournament to get the beginnings of a handle on the Japanese esports scene.

  • Kadokawa Shoten is a media company that has published some of the biggest names in Japanese comics and video games including the Cowboy Bebop manga, the Neon Genesis Evangelion manga, and the Lunar series of RPGs as well as maintaining several magazines that cover news in the comics and video games scene.
  • As best as I can figure, Tokaigi organizes the annual Game Party Japan held in mid-January. The two day exhibition has recently served as an outlet for publishers to show off new games and to host video game tournaments, most notably for fighting games like Street Fighter IV. Last year, Nintendo was the event’s sole special sponsor. This year’s sole special sponsor? Nintendo.
  • Dwango owns Niconico, a widely used Japanese video sharing website and cornerstone of Japanese Internet culture, drawing 125m MAU with over 1.5m users that subscribe to a premium version of the service for ¥540 JPY/month. Nintendo bought shares equivalent to 1.5% of the company in late 2013 at the request of its CEO.

Bonus fact: as a result of a merger in 2014, the three groups above are all subsidiaries under one roof: Kadokawa Dwango.

Nintendo’s passive involvement from the sponsorship to the stock transactions probably means that, while Nintendo won’t be calling the shots in any official capacity with regard to the GP series, I believe that they are involved somehow with the organizations running the show. I also think it’s also a confirmation of sorts that Nintendo will not take its own show on the road, either in Japan or other regions, but would rather lend their name to cross-promote their titles’ inclusion into other shows.

Author’s note: more frequent shorter posts — like this one — are incoming.

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