Valve Cancels The International
eSports may be considered a lone survivor during a time of challenges untold, but even professional video gaming has not escaped the threat of an invisible enemy. Due to the mass-gatherings inspired by Valve’s annual flagship The International championships eSports tournament, the Valve team announced on its Dota 2 blog that the massive event will in all likelihood have to be pushed out all the way to 2021.
The International is the largest eSports championships event in the world and each year pits professional teams consisting of professional Dota 2 players against one another. Valve refrained from wagering a guess at any exact future dates, saying that the current volatile nature of the expected trajectory of the global health crisis made it a thing of near impossibility to accurately predict what it referred to as “firm dates”.
The International was to be hosted in Stockholm in Sweden this coming August. The country has become the subject of a lot of criticism over its supposed “poor” handling of the current health situation. Even though Sweden’s numbers look to be more promising than many other countries, the number of people who are dying percentagewise is much higher in Sweden than in most other countries.
The 2019 instalment of The International was hosted at the Mercedes Benz Arena in Shanghai and sold out a stunning total of 26,804 tickets in under a minute. Weekend Bundle passes flew out the door in record time too. And with a 2019 prize pool totalling to an incredible $34.3 million, it’s no surprise eSports fans were eager to see it all go down.
The problem with major eSports events is that even though in-arena fans aren’t a dead necessity, teams are still required to convene centrally in order to compete. Since large crowds gathering aren’t regarded safe at this present moment in time, the majority of this year’s major eSports events have already been cancelled or postponed.
Did Valve Think Things Through?
Many are however of the opinion that Valve hasn’t duly considered the pros and cons of moving The International online. An example of why this would have been more than a mere possibility would be Overwatch League. Even professional sports leagues have been turning to the virtual world of eSports for either a continuation of competitions or merely for interim sports entertainment.
Many disgruntled fans and players have expressed their disappointment resulting from what they’ve described as a lack of consideration on the part of Valve.