Dota 2‘s annual tournament The International has been delayed indefinitely due to COVID-19.
This move isn’t likely to surprise many people considering the number of events delayed or canceled thus far. Regardless, it’s now official that The International will not take place in August 2020 as usual.
Valve is playing it fairly safe with this, too. The official statement notes that although it’s exploring possibilities, the company doesn’t expect to be able to give a new date any time soon and that the event will likely “happen in 2021.” Even without spectators, the number of international (no pun intended) flights required to get the teams in place means that’s also not a huge surprise. Still, the candor is refreshing.
Dota Pro Circuit
This will have a knock-on effect on the rest of the Dota 2 professional world. Normally, Dota Pro Circuit tournaments occur throughout the year with the top teams getting direct invites to The International. Multiple DPC events have been canceled already, however, and Valve is also working on “restructuring the DPC season for the fall.” If Valve does indeed delay The International until 2021, that will likely mean a large shake-up in terms of when future events will happen. We also have yet to see how this will impact Dota 2 pro teams, which tend to heavily adjust their rosters every year.
Nonetheless, the Battle Pass and all of its cosmetics and features are still coming. The International’s mammoth prize pool is generally funded by its Battle Pass, with 25% of all revenue earned going to the prizes. Valve has stated that the 2020 Battle Pass will release “soon instead of closer to the event itself.”
That said, this too has seen a delay — if only slightly. Valve states that the Battle Pass will come “at least a couple of weeks later than usual” due to employees working from home.
The International is a Dota 2 tournament that has taken place annually since 2011. Since then, it’s routinely been the largest esports tournaments in terms of prize pool, with every year topping the last. The International 2019 had a prize pool of nearly $35 million USD, the majority of which came from crowdfunding. The closest any other game has come to this has been the Fortnite World Cup 2019, which had a prize pool of $30 million USD. That won’t be topped this year, as the Fortnite World Cup 2020 has also been canceled.
On a very minor note, this also means that the numbering system will get a bit more confusing. Since the first International in 2011, the number of each tournament has matched the year in which it took place. Unless two Internationals are held in 2021, we’re going to be a year off from now on, and I’m actually going to have to think about what tournament number this is.