As with many other things, the COVID-19 pandemic has a had a dramatic effect on esports. While plenty of esports can be played online, many major tournaments favor in-person LAN matchups in front of a large crowd. That, obviously, can’t happen while stay at home and social distancing orders are in place, leading to the cancellation of many big tournaments.
Valve’s The International, which is an annual tournament for Dota 2 and one of the largest esports tournaments in general, is the latest event to fall victim to the pandemic. In a blog post to the Dota 2 website, Valve announced that it has delayed The International for 2020. Don’t expect the company to announce new dates for The International anytime soon, either.
“After extensive consideration of the global health emergency stemming from COVID-19, we have made the difficult choice to delay The International,” Valve said. “We have been exploring various date possibilities, but it is likely that the event will need to happen in 2021. Given the highly volatile landscape for local gathering restrictions, virus trajectory, and global travel policies, we don’t expect to have enough confidence to communicate firm dates in the near future.”
Valve says that the next International, whenever it winds up taking place, will be funded by 25% of the sales from the next Dota 2 battle pass. That battle pass won’t be pushed back so it launches closer to the actual event, though Valve does note that because the Dota 2 team is working from home, its release will be delayed by at least a couple of weeks.
So, there you have it: The International is a no-go, at least for now. One bright spot from this announcement is that Valve is working on restructuring the Dota Pro Circuit season for this fall, so it sounds like that’ll still be happening – albeit with some tweaks.