The International, an annual Dota 2 world championship that often accrues multi-million dollar prize pools, has been officially delayed. Valve announced the decision yesterday, citing the global health emergency surrounding the COVID-19 virus.
The publisher says it is exploring potential dates, but it seems likely that the 10th International will take place in 2021. "Given the highly volatile landscape for local gathering restrictions, virus trajectory, and global travel policies, we don't expect to have enough confidence to communicate firm dates in the near future," said Valve in a blog post.
The Battle Pass, a crowdfunding seasonal event that's been running since the 2013 International, is still planned to release "soon," rather than closer to the event itself. It may take longer than normal however, due to the Dota 2 team shifting to a work-from-home setup. Valve says to expect the Battle Pass "at least a couple of weeks later than usual."
The International has traditionally accrued massive prize pools with its annual crowdfunding through the Battle Pass (formerly the Compendium), with last year's winning squad OG taking home over $15 million from a total prize pool of over $34 million.
But The International is, as its name implies, a worldwide event. Teams from North America, Europe, Russia, China, Southeast Asia, and more often travel around the world to compete in the Dota Pro Circuit, accruing enough points to earn a spot at The International. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic throws a wrench into those systems. Even in ongoing tournaments, the online format has forced some teams to swap players around to play manageable games across regions.
In Valve's blog post, it says the team is working on restructuring the Dota Pro Circuit for the fall.