Panda Global CEO Steps Down Amid Smash World Tour Shutdown Controversy

Panda Global CEO Steps Down Amid Smash World Tour Shutdown Controversy

Last week, the organizers of the unofficial Smash Bros. competitive event Smash World Tour announced that they would no longer be hosting their 2022 Championship event or continuing their circuit into 2023, allegedly due to interference from Nintendo.

Aside from discussing Nintendo’s involvement, Smash World Tour’s statement also included allegations against Panda Global, Nintendo’s official partner for competitive Smash Bros. events. These allegations asserted that Panda’s CEO Alan Bunney was working behind the scenes to interfere with Smash World Tour as well as other parties in the scene, using Panda’s connections with Nintendo as a threat to get their way.

Although Nintendo and Panda both released statements denying the allegations, Panda has since issued a new statement directly addressing the concerns. In this statement, they announce that Alan Bunney has stepped down as as CEO of Panda, and that they would be cancelling their own event the Panda Cup Finale due to “security concerns for their staff and contractors”. They also said they are “committed to do their part” to help the competitive Smash community move on from this controversy.

According to a compilation of responses from Nintendo Wire, it seems that this announcement could have been a response to numerous competitive Smash Bros. players and commentators leaving Panda en masse in light of Smash World Tour’s initial allegations. This would obviously make it difficult for them to run a proper tournament, but will likely also have severe repercussions for the company and its brand moving forward.

Although Nintendo themselves have yet to comment on this development as of this writing, its quite possible that this will prompt them to re-evaluate their decision to partner with Panda for official Smash Bros. events, as well as set the company’s relationship with Smash Bros’ competitive scene back even further. Stay tuned for more updates should they become available.

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