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NetherRealm Studios and BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment announced on Friday that their games will no longer be a part of WePlay Esports events.
The two companies stated they will pull their popular fighting games titles from the tournament organizers events and circuits. The includes Mortal Kombat 11, Tekken, SoulCaliber and Dragon Ball Fighter Z. Both organizations released similar statements, citing differences in professional practices as reasons for pulling out.
“NetherRealm Studios is constantly striving to foster the best esports tournaments for out dedicated fans and community,” the NetherRealm statement said. “Due to differences in vision, we will no longer allow our games to be utilized in WePlay operated esports events.”
— NetherRealm (@NetherRealm) April 30, 2021
WePlay’s Ultimate Fighting League’s inaugural season concluded in late April of this year. Mortal Kombat, SoulCalibur and Tekken all topped the viewership charts for the event. Martal Kombat brought in a peak 24,000 viewers on its own and now will no longer be a part of the league.
— Bandai Namco Esports (@BNEesports) April 30, 2021
Why NetherRealm and BANDAI NAMCO are leaving WePlay
No statement has been made specifying why the two companies are pulling out of the tournament organizers events. However, the news comes a week after WePlay’s controversial partnership with Russian online gambling company 1xBet. United Kingdom outlet The Times did an investigation into the betting company in 2019 and reported it promoted an adult casino with topless croupiers and had advertisements for illegal websites. The company pulled its UK website down shortly after the release of the investigation.
The reaction from the wider fighting game community was less than welcoming to the new partnership.
1XBet revealed to be potentially even shadier than their first impression is impressive when their first impression was “wow, this ain’t even legal in my country.”
— Rick (@TheHadou) April 14, 2021
“1xBet has assured us that the brand abides by all the relevant laws and regulations in every jurisdiction in which it operates,” WePlay told Esports New UK about the partnership in the days following its partnership announcement.
WePlay responded to the announcements hours later in their own Twitter post.
“The news received today caught us by surprise,” WePlay said. “Since WUFL began and after the event finished, we tried to discuss the future season, go over feedback, and address the first season with both NRS and Bandai but have had no response. Our vision and dedication to the FGC have not changed, and we will continue to move forward by making amazing events and content that the community deserves.”
— WUFL | #WePlayUFL (@WePlayUFL) April 30, 2021
Declan is an esports journalist and part-time editor for Upcomer. He is an avid gamer and League of Legends player. You can find him at the bottom of the leaderboard in most games or on Twitter.