Fans and pundits are officially done with Valve’s handling of the pro Dota 2 scene.
A regular voice on important topics in Dota 2, caster Kyle Freedman spoke out on Valve’s poor handling of the Dota Pro Circuit and The International 10. During an Omega League broadcast, he questioned how Dota 2 wasn’t fully operational when all other notable esports, and even traditional sports leagues including the NBA, are back in action.
Response to Kyle’s take was almost unanimous agreement among fans and members of the esports media. Among that lot were Rod “Slasher” Breslau and ESPN’s Tyler Erzberger, who discussed the TI10 Battle Pass and how it has generated over $100 million in revenue. Despite that, Dota 2’s professional scene remains in limbo.
The uncertainty surrounding The International is understandable. The International wouldn’t be feasible due to spotty network conditions around the world which would prevent effective online play.
The trouble is that Valve was originally planning on hosting a series of online regional leagues that was meant to replace the previous version of the Dota Pro Circuit. Numerous other online leagues have been organized and completed without incident, which suggests there were no real barriers to Valve doing the same.
Despite that, Valve announced suddenly that all Dota Pro Circuit plans were on indefinite hold. Though Valve stated that ongoing health concerns around the globe were to blame, that makes no real sense, as tournament organizers such as WePlay!, ESL, Beyond the Summit, and Epic Esports Events have all hosted similar Dota 2 events without issue. No clear explanation was given, leaving fans and pundits to question what had actually led to the decision.
Valve always seems to escape major scrutiny for their historically non-existent support of esports and inattention to its own games (CSGO, TF2, even Dota now) because Blizzard, Riot, Epic are easier targets. Valve game communities deserve so much better https://t.co/HYpeCqELFo
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) August 31, 2020
Regardless, the cancellation of the Dota Pro Circuit and indefinite delay of TI10 has left pro teams and players in a bind.
2020 is set to have an approximate 70% reduction in Dota 2 prize pool payouts. This comes alongside a mass evacuation of sponsors from Dota 2, with organizations including Chaos Esports Club, Cloud9, Keen Gaming, and more leaving the game. This has been a massive hit to the already struggling second tier of the Dota 2 pro scene that Valve has still done nothing to address.
Whether this outcry pushes Valve to action remains to be seen, but odds are that the company will continue to put minimal effort into the esports scenes surrounding its titles.