'Tis the season for esports. Evo 2017 ran in mid-July, the Overwatch World Cup is still going strong, and The International 2017 kicked off this week. Nintendo joined the action today with the announcement that the Nintendo World Championships will return at the Manhattan Center's Grand Ballroom on October 7, with qualifying matches being held at select Best Buy locations during the weekends between August 19-September 10.
Unlike those other tournaments, the Nintendo World Championships is aimed largely at children. Participants will be separated into two brackets: 12 and younger or 13 and older. Instead of pummeling, shooting at, or rushing each other like they would in those other events, players will simply have to out-race each other in Mario Kart 7 for the Nintendo 3DS. (Though you could argue that the Mario Kart series is still pretty violent.)
The qualifying matches will require players to achieve the best score in Mario Kart 7's time trial mode while using predetermined racers (Mario and Bowser) and karts. Two players from each match will go on to the main event; Nintendo will cover travel and lodging costs and will also give each player a $400 gift card. That pales in comparison to The International's $24 million prize pool, but it's probably a fortune to some of these kids.
Perhaps the real draw will be the ability to play Super Mario Odyssey for the Nintendo Switch and Metroid: Samus Returns for the 3DS at the qualifiers. This is a good chance for Nintendo to show off the upcoming titles and to convince its customers to check out the Switch or continue buying games for their aging 3DS. The holiday shopping season is coming up, after all, and that's one of the busiest times for game companies.
It's kind of surprising that Nintendo chose Mario Kart 7 for this event. The company recently released Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, an enhanced port of Mario Kart 8 for the Switch, and the game quickly broke Mario Kart sales records. Other made-for-esports titles like Arms and Splatoon 2 were also released in June and July, respectively, and would allow Nintendo to highlight the Switch's appeal to kids and their console-buying parents.
You can find information about when and where the qualifiers will be held on the Nintendo World Championships website. Nintendo has also published the event's rules, which you can find here. Note that the tournament is open only to residents of the U.S. and Canada, excluding Quebec, so don't worry about hopping on a plane to vie for your shot at the Mario Kart 7 throne. You'll probably just end up being disappointed.