Is Valve ready to cancel The International after pro complaints?

By Steven Rondina


Jan 13, 2022

Reading time: 2 min

Valve is once again dealing with an angry Dota 2 pro scene, and it’s possible the company may soon have had enough of it.

Following the cancelation of Dota 2’s winter major event, a host of professional players and others within the scene took the opportunity to publicly vent their frustrations with how the company handled it. Among them is Evil Geniuses manager Peter “Panders” Anders, and he recounted a meeting between pro players and Valve at The International 2021.

According to a post from Panders on Twitlonger, Valve had a few specific notes for players about what the company wanted from them moving forward.

“First, when teams have problems, they should stop going directly to public platforms, and should instead communicate with Valve. Second, Valve sees TI as a passion project,” Panders wrote. “They don’t gain much revenue from TI compared to the time out in, and when teams go straight to public platforms to complain about issues, it makes Valve less motivated to keep running TI.”

Panders noted that this concept wouldn’t be a bad thing with many other companies. However, Valve’s opaqueness, inattentiveness, and last-minute decision making make it so that massive eruptions on social media can seem like the only way to get the company to respond to relevant concerns.

Valve threatens to cancel The International

Valve holding larger discussions with pro teams at The International has become something of a tradition in recent years. They’ve also been a source of controversy, as Valve has tipped its hand that it doesn’t actually know how the scene operates.

All that said, what appears to be a thinly veiled threat still comes as a surprise.

The International represents over 70% of the annual prize pool payouts in Dota 2. With multi-game organizations largely gone from Dota 2, this means that most professional players rely on the income received through The International in order to cover living expenses.

The threat of being blackballed from The International has long existed in Dota 2, which has made public criticism of Valve scarce. Until fairly recently, criticism of Valve’s handling of anything almost exclusively came through the media and under the condition of anonymity. Once organizations walked away from Dota 2 en masse and event cancelations and delays became frequent, players started regularly speaking out on social media.

If what Panders is saying is true, Valve is clearly upset by this and is looking to forcibly shut Dota 2 pros up. But while shutting down The International forever is certainly a grave threat, an argument that doing so would actually improve things around the game has been around for years.