Galaxy Battles has major status revoked by Valve just weeks before tournament

The Galaxy Battles Major hosted by Fallout Gaming has had its major status and Valve involvement revoked, with the game developer citing “unreasonable infringements on the privacy of the players” as the main reason for the decision.

The Aegis of Champions, the ultimate aim for any Dota 2 player. Credit: Valve

It comes less than two weeks before the tournament, hosted in the Philippines was set to get underway. The blog post from Valve reads “the tournament itself may still proceed, but without any involvement of Valve or the Dota Pro Circuit”. This will mean that the prize money will effectively be halved, as Valve contributed $500,000 to majors in the Dota Pro Circuit and also the coveted Pro Circuit points that contribute towards qualification for the flagship tournament The International will not be earned.

The blog post is brief, but reads:

“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”.

It later on continues to apologise to attendees and the Philippines, stating:

“This isn’t a reflection on how we feel about the fans in the Philippines, and we are sorry for those that were planning on attending the event”.

In response, the Philippines Games and Amusements Board (“GAB”) issued a statement in response. The statement outlines that under new regulation, esports players are subject to similar tests to those of professional athletes and thus are required to obtain a professional license from the GAB. It cites that amongst the requirements to enter is drug testing and organisers have been informed of the requirement. The drugs tested for are marijuana and shabu (metamphetamine hydrochloride).

There has been recent debate about tournament organiser Fallout Gaming and their legitimacy. The event itself has been rumoured to be held in a “shady part” of the Philippines and there’s been mumbles from the community for a while.

It remains to be seen as to whether the drug regulations or tournament organiser is the true reason behind it, but regardless a cancellation of a major event just weeks before the event is most definitely detrimental for Dota 2 as a whole. Valve has insisted they will be working with organisers looking to allow the teams who qualified for the tournament to compete at another time in a different tournament but details are yet to be revealed. Players who have qualified for the tournament will likely be disgruntled as it’s a huge chance to notch further points towards the ultimate end goal. Additionally, teams gave up a large portion of their time to qualify for the event in what has been a hugely hectic season for scheduling given the vast number of tournaments in the new tournament circuit.

Esports Insider says: This is bad news. There’s several takes as to what exactly has happened. Dota 2 tournament stopped because of rampant drug problem amongst players? Fallout Gaming should never have been selected for a major? Filipino government having silly regulations in place? There’ll be several hot takes, right or wrong, in the coming weeks no doubt.