Valve has confirmed that The International 2019, the biggest tournament in the Dota 2 esports calendar, will be held in Shanghai, China, next year.
The publisher confirmed the news ahead of the lower bracket finals at The International 2018, which reached its conclusion yesterday. OG defeated PSG.LGD in a best of five to claim the crown and the lion’s share of a $25m prize pool.
The reveal came as a shock to the Dota 2 community. Valve has been secretive about the location of the tournament in the past. The publisher didn’t announce that it would hold this year’s The International in Vancouver, Canada, until March this year.
The decision to move the tournament to China comes as less of a surprise. The East Asian nation is one of Valve’s biggest markets for Dota 2. Despite PSG.LGD’s shortcomings this year, Chinese teams typically dominate at The International and that will undoubtedly help to pull in big crowds at next year’s tournament.
As esports continues to grow in popularity around the world, China is becoming a hub for professional gaming, with Shanghai at the forefront of the scene’s development.
Six of the past seven The International tournaments have been held in Seattle, United States. This year’s edition was the first in six years to be held outside of the United States.
Valve have been open with their plans to relocate the tournament in the wake of President of the United States’ Donald Trump’s travel ban imposed against a number of Muslim-majority countries, which has made it increasingly difficult for many teams to obtain visas to travel to the US.
As of yet, Valve has yet to announce when The International 2019 will be taking place.
OG vs PSG.LGD: The International 2018
PSG.LGD will already be making their places to get revenge over their European rivals on home turf next year, following their shock defeat to OG in The International 2018 grand final.
OG secured the biggest prize in esports history with a 3-2 victory over LGD. That was despite the Chinese side dominating play for much of the tie.