Gabe Newell has essentially moved to New Zealand, and he might be taking his games’ biggest tournaments with him.
Speaking with 1 News, the Valve Software CEO discussed the possibility of hosting major Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive events in New Zealand. Though he stopped short of saying local fans should start clearing their calendars, he acknowledged that there is a strong possibility of it happening next year.
“Is New Zealand the only country where you could do Counter-Strike or Dota 2 tournaments safely…it’s increasing the likelihood of having events here. If I had to guess when it would be safe to do an in-person tournament anywhere in the world, it would be hard for me to say that, whereas I think with a lot of confidence we’d be able to plan for that in New Zealand,” Newell said.
Newell has had effusive praise for New Zealand over recent months, stemming from his enjoyment of an impromptu staycation. GabeN traveled to New Zealand as a way of celebrating the launch of Half-Life: Alyx. Ahead of his departure, New Zealand implemented tough travel restrictions that left him stuck on the archipelago.
While one would expect this to be an inconvenience for Newell, he has instead enjoyed his time there to the point that he’s content in simply staying put. He also discussed the possibility of relocating some or all of Valve’s operations to New Zealand.
Uprooting Valve and hosting CSGO majors and The International would both be contingent on two things. First and foremost would be working with New Zealand’s government in order to hammer out travel and safety protocols that would allow people to actually enter the country. The other hinges on how things shake out globally, as Newell expressed reservations over the idea of taking action when there’s a real possibility of having to undo those changes only shortly after if things improve elsewhere.
At present, The International 10 is slated for August 2021 in Stockholm, Sweden. Though Newell discussed the possibility of hosting The International in New Zealand, Valve seems to be committed to having The International take place in Stockholm. The city was originally meant to host the event in 2020 before it was indefinitely postponed.
Valve is apparently looking to honor Stockholm’s previous agreement with the company, which has the event set to take place in the third quarter of 2021. This has been reiterated on numerous occasions by Valve, and while plans can always change, this one certainly seems likely.
The next CSGO major is also set to be hosted in Stockholm, Sweden in October 2021. Though some fans may have seen ESL as the go-to tournament organizer for the next CSGO major, Valve thought otherwise, choosing PGL as hosts. PGL is also likely set to organize The International 10 in Stockholm just two months prior.