The Potential Hosting Of The International in New Zealand And What It Means For Oceania’s Dota Community

Posted by Maouie February 9, 2021 in NEWS

Image banner via Valve

A ‘realistic possibility’ of The International finding home in New Zealand has recently been presented by Valve CEO and co-founder Gabe “Gaben” Newell thanks to the country’s incredible handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In an interview with 1 NEWS, Gaben, who originally went to New Zealand for the holidays but decided to stay since the world went into lockdown, shared about the increasing likelihood of holding Valve-sanctioned events in the country such as the annual Dota 2 world championship and major Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournaments.

“New Zealand is the only country where you can hold Counter-Strike or Dota tournaments safely… As long as Covid keeps mutating, it certainly is increasing [the] likelihood that we’ll be having events here,” Gaben said.

The 10th iteration of The International, which was originally planned to take place in Stockholm, Sweden was postponed last year due to travel restrictions and general complications brought about by the global pandemic. Prior to Gaben’s interview, Valve shared that the grand tournament is most likely to transpire in August this year at the same venue, though they are not eliminating the possibility of having it hosted in other countries.

The decision for The International’s venue is historically influenced by multiple factors, like facilities, resources, and a bit of the local fan base. The first few aspects were the reason why it was held in Seattle, Washington, where Valve’s headquarters is located, from 2012 until they decided to move it around in 2018, starting from Vancouver, Canada, then to Shanghai, China the year after. 

As Gaben noted when talking about the interest of Valve employees in moving to New Zealand, the public health infrastructure, aside from the local’s technical skills and internet stability, to name a few, has become a significant factor in setting up a software company. This set of requirements, however, could also be applied to organizing a large-scale esports tournament, making New Zealand an optimum host for The International 2021.

The recent news about The International is undoubtedly great for the esports industry at large, but the potential of having it hosted in New Zealand is even greater news for Oceania’s humble Dota community.

The International is publicized as the biggest esports tournament in terms of the prize pool. This year, the world’s best teams will compete for more than a $40 million prize pool, a world record which they achieved by surpassing their own previously set feat. Despite this astounding prize pot, the prestige that comes with being able to represent your own country in a tournament of this caliber remains priceless; much more in this day and age when live events and roaring home crowds seem to be a thing of the past.

In retrospect, however, the task is evidently easier said than done. The abolishment of the open qualifiers and the lack of a representative in the ongoing Dota Pro Circuit season ultimately limits an Oceania-based team’s chances of qualifying, let alone being directly invited, in the upcoming world championship.

This, however, hardly means that Oceania is no longer without hope. In fact, since the world locked its doors, the Australia-New Zealand region is already working towards the goal that will soon be laid in front of them thanks to grassroots tournaments dedicated to developing promising talents like the Oceanic Esports Dota League. Couple this initiative with the revamped Dota Pro Circuit which now fosters tier-two teams, the Oceanic Dota community will surely be ready for the world stage in no time.

New Zealand’s hosting of The International may remain as a mere possibility until officially announced, but the development of Oceania’s Dota 2 community, on the other hand, is evidently steady.

Catch Oceania’s finest Dota 2 players in action at the Oceanic Esports Dota League Season 3 live on Twitch from Wednesday to Saturday!