Dota 2 publisher Valve has released a blog post responding to recent criticism regarding the state of the game’s esports ecosystem during the COVID-19 pandemic. In it, the publisher shares insights into its philosophy during the early stages of the pandemic, and its decision to delay The International and its corresponding circuit.
“While neither the cross-region competition nor the relative distance to The International are absolute requirements,” the blog post reads, “we felt the DPC as both a function of The International and also as a coherent product for fans would be better served by holding off on them for now. Given that, our plan was that we’d make the upcoming months open and clear for other leagues and events to operate.”
Valve goes on to say it hoped to allow third party leagues and events to “have an impact” in the absence of the game’s official circuit and its annual $30M+ USD championship. However, the company has received significant criticism recently due to a lack of communication on its official esports roadmap and the lack of support provided to third party events filling the void of Valve’s own multi-million-dollar events. More than any other game, Dota 2 and its teams and pros rely on these large prize money payouts, and their absence has placed a significant strain on the ecosystem, particularly for teams outside of the most elite and popular.
In the post, Valve acknowledges these communication issues and states that the upcoming competitive season will include “at least four third party events and leagues in EU/CIS events, three in China, and a few others that are still in the preliminary planning stages and are not able to commit at this time.” The post then acknowledges that these events will still not serve the many players, organizers, and fans in other regions, and Valve is reaching out to additional organizers to provide “help and financial support” to increase global Dota 2 coverage for the rest of the year.
Finally, Valve states that it is looking to early 2021 to resume its Dota Pro Circuit, which the company had previously announced will shift to a league format. The company also confirms previous reporting that the most likely scenario is for The International to take place in its normal slot in August 2021, ideally in Stockholm, Sweden, as that was the planned 2020 location. The post does not indicate how this will affect the 2020 TI prize pool, which now sits at over $35M.
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