Microsoft has acquired esports tournament organization platform Smash.gg. The announcement first came from a brief statement on the Smash.gg home page, and then from a thread by the Smash.gg Twitter account. Microsoft made an official announcement about the acquisition through their MSN Sports Twitter handle.
Big news everyone! @smashgg is joining us at Microsoft. Same great tournament organization features. Same amazing team. Even more support and opportunities. Get ready to play!
— MSN Esports (@MSN_Esports) December 2, 2020
The statement from Smash.gg says that joining Microsoft will help the platform “strengthen its existing relationships and explore new opportunities.” It also states that the website will remain a “self-service esports platform,” suggesting Smash.gg’s overall function will stay the same. The primary benefit is for the website employees, who will now receive support as members of Microsoft’s Content Services team.
Former Smash.gg employee Matthew “MatDotZeb” Zaborowski congratulated the platform for its acquisition. He revealed that he had previously been in charge of the website’s relationship with Microsoft. MattDotZeb also claimed that there would be “basically no changes to the free-to-use open-for-all aspects of the site.”
My understanding from talking to insiders is that there is basically no changes to the free-to-use open-for-all aspects of the site
Don't expect it go down the route of having only 1st-party Microsoft games and locking other games out
— Matt (@DotZeb) December 2, 2020
More about Microsoft’s acquisition of Smash.gg
Smash.gg first launched in 2015 as a tool for event organizers. Since its creation, it has allowed players to register for tournaments and it has allowed organizers to run tournament brackets. As its name suggests, Smash.gg was originally created for Super Smash Bros. tournaments. However, it is now the bracket software of choice for many esports communities.
In light of Smash.gg joining Microsoft, the Smashboards Twitter account shared some of the history of competitive Smash bracket organization. Prior to Smash.gg, Challonge was the platform of choice for setting up Smash brackets. Before that, the community used TioPro, and before that, they relied simply on hand-written brackets or Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. Ironically, it seems the community has come full circle in regards to relying on Microsoft software to produce digital brackets.
BWW Media Group executive editor Brad Sams noted how strange the low-key nature of the reveal was. This led him to speculate that Smash.gg dropped the news earlier than Microsoft intended, or even that it was fake. Another Twitter user speculated it could have been the result of a hack, although the statement from the Smash.gg Twitter account suggests that this is not the case.
According to its website, Microsoft acquired @smashgg but…MSFT didnt/hasnt announced it and this is an odd way to do this. pic.twitter.com/i2Aci4rh9w
— Brad Sams (@bdsams) December 2, 2020