Valve indefinitely delays Dota 2’s The International 2020

Photo by Hu Chengwei/Getty Images

One of the biggest esports events in the world has been indefinitely delayed amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Developer Valve announced on Thursday that the 2020 edition of the Dota 2 tournament, known as The International, that was set to take place at the Ericsson Globe arena in Stockholm this August will no longer happen this summer and may be pushed back until 2021. In fact, Valve says it simply doesn’t know when it can announce concrete dates going forward.

“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,” reads the company’s announcement posted to the Dota 2 blog. “In the meantime, we are working on restructuring the DPC season for the fall, and will be providing more information as soon as we have it.”

The International, which has run annually since 2011, is not only one of the most popular competitive gaming events globally, but also the most lucrative. Last year’s edition, which took place in Shanghai, boasted a prize pool of more than $30 million, topping the record-breaking pool from the first annual Fortnite World Cup.

Valve says it still intends to draw its prize pool from sales of its Dota 2 seasonal battle pass, but that it will be releasing the battle pass “soon” instead of closer to the event itself, given the circumstances. “However, with our team working from home and things taking longer to complete, the release date of the Battle Pass will be at least a couple of weeks later than usual,” the company says.

Valve’s tournament is just the latest in a long line of esports events forced to shift operations. The Overwatch League, with kicked off earlier this year with big ambitions to host home and away games all over the globe, moved to an online-only format alongside the Call of Duty League, while a major League of Legends league shifted games to an online format, too. Everyone from broadcasters to fans have been impacted in some way. Earlier today, Epic Games announced that it would no longer host a 2020 Fortnite World Cup as it shifts all of its competitive circuit for the battle royale shooter to an online-only structure.

Here’s Valve’s announcement in full:

After extensive consideration of the global health emergency stemming from COVID-19, we have made the difficult choice to delay The International. 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. In the meantime, we are working on restructuring the DPC season for the fall, and will be providing more information as soon as we have it.

The 10th International prize pool will be funded by 25% of sales of the next Battle Pass, which we are planning to release soon instead of closer to the event itself. However, with our team working from home and things taking longer to complete, the release date of the Battle Pass will be at least a couple of weeks later than usual.

We hope everyone in the Dota community is staying as safe as possible, and look forward to a time when we can once again welcome everyone to enjoy the spectacle of The International.