Major League Gaming
Major League Gaming, often abbreviated as MLG, is a professional American gaming league founded in 2002, dedicated to competition in console gaming. Headquartered in New York City, the league has had some interaction with the Super Smash Bros. series, with Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U having appeared on their brackets. In addition to giving more recognition to the games, some smashers from the MLG scene later became celebrities in their own right; Ken Hoang, for instance, credits the league with helping him pay for college, and he has since appeared in other television shows. In January, 2016, video game publisher Activision Blizzard, Inc. acquired the Major League Gaming brand, with intentions to restructure the company and spin it off into an esports television network, though this has yet to materialize. Activision Blizzard, Inc., and Major League Gaming with it, were announced to be acquired by Microsoft in January, 2022.
Involvement with Super Smash Bros.
Melee was added to the circuits of MLG in 2004; it was retired in 2007 due to declining interest in Melee with the development of Brawl underway, as well as an increasing focus in the MLG to seventh generation consoles. Adding to this, an increased independent tournament scene began developing, which sometimes undermined the MLG's own tournaments.
In 2007, MLG bought Smash World Forums from Gideon for an undisclosed sum, though it was reportedly enough to cover Gideon's medical school expenses. While MLG was able to move SmashBoards to more stable servers, preventing site crashes that had previously plagued the formers, a large number of posts made prior to 2007 were deleted and numerous threads about old tournaments were lost; furthermore, Gideon's various fansites that were linked to Smash World Forums.
In 2010, Brawl was added to MLG circuits, as a replacement to Melee; this inclusion, while not as popular as the Melee scene, did lead to Brawl experiencing a similar surge in popularity. While popular as an "alternate" fighting game, MLG later removed Brawl for the 2011 Pro Circuit. The reason for Brawl's removal have not been disclosed, though common theories include dwindling attendance at events (the MLG Raleigh tournament, for instance, only attracted 148 singles entrants); growing interest in grassroots tournaments; a lack of sponsors (most notably Nintendo's refusal to let MLG livestream Brawl events); and that two of the most well-known Brawl players, Mew2King and ADHD, were found guilty of bracket manipulation at MLG DC 2010 in October.
Neither Melee nor Brawl returned for MLG events in 2012 or 2013. Furthermore, on 27 November 2012, MLG sold SmashBoards to AlphaZealot through his company Xyelot LLC, in what was viewed as an attempt to further the separation between Smash and MLG.
Towards the end of 2013, MLG suggested that it might include Melee at MLG Anaheim 2014. Brawl was also considered for inclusion, as well as Super Smash Bros. 4, if the game was released by the tournament date. In March 2014, Melee was confirmed to be reappearing at MLG Anaheim 2014, but it was also announced that Brawl would not make a return for the tournament. While response to Melee's appearance was positive, the decision to exclude Brawl received more mixed reception, owing to the continued controversy over Brawl's gameplay changes compared to Melee. In addition to MLG Anaheim 2014, various qualifier tournaments were also organised for the event.
MLG Anaheim 2014 eventually took place from 20 June to 22 June 2014, marking Melee's first appearance at an MLG event since 2006. The tournament, however, was criticised by some entrants and spectators for multiple logistics issues regarding the timing of events and quality of online streams; furthermore, MLG ended up losing recordings of Melee matches, and had to obtain them from viewers who had captured the livestream, even though their website asked viewers to not do so.
Following MLG Anaheim 2014, MLG did not speak about whether Smash would reappear for future tournaments; this continued into 2015 until October, when it was confirmed both Melee and Smash 4 would appear at the MLG World Finals 2015 finals. Since the conclusion of the event, no further news has been given as to whether more Smash titles will appear in MLG's future events.