Photo by: Charlie Martin
On Feb. 27, esports production company Beyond the Summit (BTS) announced that they will be shutting down following the conclusion of their final event, which runs from Mar. 23 to 26.
BTS has hosted a variety of esports events over the past 11 years, but are primarily known for their Dota 2 and Smash Bros. tournaments. Their events were particularly noteworthy in the Smash scene, as they would have the community vote for their favourite players to attend, generating excitement for the event even before it started.
In the company’s official statement, founder David “LD” Gorman explained that BTS simply didn’t have the finances to continue operating. The company could have kept going for a while longer, but it likely would have made things worse for their employees.
“Our number one priority has been to ensure that our team doesn’t get hung out to dry,” he said. “If we keep going and things don’t improve, we could run the company into the ground and not be able to pay anyone anything. But if we let everyone go now, we can give them advance notice, a headstart to figure out future plans and good severance offers.”
LD emphasized that BTS would wrap up its existing projects before shutting down.
“In order to do right by our partners and the community, BTS is still planning to run Smash Ultimate Summit 6 and complete all active contracts,” he said. “We hope these projects can also serve as a bridge for some of our people as they figure out next steps.”
As for the people he mentioned, he has a separate post promoting his crew in the hopes that another company may put their talents to use.
The shutdown of BTS has been met with sympathy by a number of people across esports communities, though in the Smash Bros. scene it has also come with apprehension. This shutdown is following the cancellation of events from other prominent production companies VGBootCamp, Smash World Tour and Panda Global, the latter of which has totally disbanded following claims that CEO Dr. Alan Bunney was intentionally sabotaging other events.
While these events are being cancelled, numerous top players are being let go from their organizations, including the best Smash Ultimate player in the world, Leonardo “MKLeo” López Pérez. These organizations are typically key in allowing players to compete full time, as they can arrange transportation for their players and register them for events.
They also tend to be the primary financial support for their players, as Smash tournaments typically don’t have large payouts beyond first place; this, along with the event cancellations, may have led to organizations feeling that Smash isn’t profitable enough to invest in.
As Beyond the Summit winds down, it is unclear if anything will take its place. Esports in general are becoming less profitable to host, and Smash is no exception. While companies like BTS have come and gone in the past, the cancellation of events all over the industry has players worried for what’s to come.