Yesterday we just reported about Tier One Entertainment and ABS-CBN’s partnership to bring out the first fully-fledged Tagalog e-sports broadcast to mainstream TV, starting with the formerly DotA Major Galaxy Battles II tournament to be held at Philippine Arena this January 15-20. The said tournament features 16 teams, from Philippines and the world, and has US$ 1,000,000 in prize pool.
But, earlier this morning (PHL time), Valve issued a statement regarding the Galaxy Battles Major tournament thru its official blog, rescinding the tournament’s major status and revoking its DotA Pro Circuit points, which equates to 1,500. Those points are used in order to determine which players should be invited to play at DotA’s premiere tournament: The International 2018.
Valve says that they thought the Philippine government’s new policy about e-sports players infringes their privacy. As GG Network notes, the PH Games and Amusement Board (GAB) now requires all e-sports players participating in the Philippines — even when they’re not Filipinos — to have a professional license that they issue. The said license will require its applicants to pay a certain fee, as well as undergo a drug test.
This drug test seems to be the issue and the reason why Valve has decided to rescind its support from the said tournament.
Here is the full text of what Valve has stated in their press release:
Based on information we’ve recently confirmed regarding new government regulations for esports players entering the Philippines, we have decided to rescind the tournament’s Major designation, including the Pro Circuit qualifying points, for the Galaxy Battles 2018 tournament. This is based on what we feel are unreasonable infringements on the privacy of the players, as a condition to enter the country. The tournament itself may still proceed, but without any involvement of Valve or the Dota Pro Circuit. This isn’t a reflection on how we feel about fans in the Philippines, and we are sorry for those that were planning on attending the event.
As a result, we’re talking to tournament organizers to try to find a way to run a Major with the invited and qualifying teams, including the Pro Circuit points that would have been available in Galaxy Battles 2018.
Our say: If Valve wants e-sports especially its games to be recognized as a real sport, they should be welcome to undergo preliminary tests like regular athletes. However, we aren’t blind about the fact that some of the popular pro players do use recreational drugs, since it is legal for them to use on their respective countries.
We’ll update you though if there’s any changes with regards to Valve’s decision.