Valve has rescinded the Major status of the upcoming Galaxy Battles II: Emerging Worlds Dota 2 event which is set to take place in the Philippines on January 15 according to a blog post on the game’s official website.
Dota 2 pro circuit events are classed as either “Major” or “Minor” and hosted at locations throughout the world. Each event has a prize pool of cash along with a number of points available for winning, with Major events typically having at least five times as many points up for grabs when compared to Minor events. The top eight teams in terms of points earned will be invited to The International 2018.
The Philippines’ Galaxy Battles II: Emerging Worlds event was going to be a Major with a $1 million prize pool and 1500 points split between the winners. However, Valve has rescinded this status following the confirmation of information surrounding certain government regulations. Said regulations are considered by Valve to be “unreasonable infringements on the privacy of players”. One of the core consequences of this ruling is that the tournament will no longer award points towards placement in The International 2018.
The blog post makes no mention of what the regulations are, but the likely candidate has been highlighted in this article at VPEsports and over at /r/Dota2. Players in the Major would be classified as “athletes” and must submit to a drug test upon entry to the country. The Philippines has been embroiled in a strict anti-drug campaign for some time now, recently shifting strategy towards appointing a dedicated anti-drug agency to combat drug crime rather than the regular police force.
Valve is in conversations with the tournament organizers to find a way to run the tournament with the same teams in a way that’s amenable to all participants (and likely outside of the Philippines).
What do you think of Valve revoking the Philippines Major status of Galaxy Battles II: Emerging Worlds? Do you think requiring drug tests for e-sports athletes entering a country is reasonable? Let us know in the comments below!