The International 2014, Valve's massive Dota 2 tournament with a prize pool of more than $1 million, will return to Seattle this year in a new July time slot, Valve's Gabe Newell confirmed in a Reddit AMA.
Earlier this week, OnGamers reported that although exact dates have not been finalized, the tournament will be held in mid-July. Newell stated in his AMA that the event would move from its previous location at Benaroya Hall to a larger venue — most likely Seattle's Key Arena.
"We haven't finalized where this year's International will be," Newell wrote. "We are pretty sure it will be at Key Arena in Seattle, but we haven't gotten everything finalized, and there is always a risk that our schedules and theirs won't align in some way. As soon as we get everything finalized one way or another, we'll get the dates out there for everyone who would like to attend. Should be fun this year."
Major League Gaming's vice president Adam Apicella expressed concerns to OnGamers that the proximity of the event with MLG's own Dota 2 tournament in Anaheim, Cali. could be detrimental to the west coast eSports community.
"The growth and excitement around both eSports and Dota 2 activity over the last year has been exponential," Apicella said. "While we are happy to see the continued popularity and support, we are concerned that the sheer number and proximity of events can have a negative impact on the players and make travel difficult for teams to afford and manage. We always strive to provide our competitors with the greatest conditions and experience possible to ensure they can compete at their best.
"However, holding tournaments so close together puts tremendous stress on players and affects their overall performance," he added. "Although we announced our plans months ago, we are currently discussing the schedule with teams and reassessing our plans to determine what will be the least stressful and most beneficial for all involved."
The moving up of The International, which typically takes place in August, also pushed the Electronic Sports League to move up its own tournament. ESL's Dota 2 event will take place at the Commerzbank-Arena World Cup Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany June 28 and 29.
"With the rapid growth of Dota there is a wealth of excitement from fans globally around offline events", ESL product manager James Lampkin said. "The Dota 2 space is certainly entering a period of over-saturation of offline events, which requires a higher level of management to allow all organizations to be successful, and teams and fans to be able to attend them. Event organizers, Valve and Teams must work closer together and form a streamlined communication process so that all parties may succeed and fans are not forced to make tough event-attendance choices."
Last year's five-day The International featured a prize pool of $1.4 million and attracted more than 1 million simultaneous online viewers worldwide.