After careful consideration of the current state and trajectory of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the health risk that this presents to competitors, staff and fans alike, we have made the difficult decision to cancel to the 4th minor and major tournaments of the DPC season.— DOTA 2 (@DOTA2) March 15, 2020
The news comes less than a week after the third Major of the year, the ESL One Los Angeles Major, was postponed amid health and safety concerns related to the same virus. Valve has now cancelled three of the ten events which make up the 2019/2020 DPC season.
On Monday, EPICENTER tournament organisers Epic Esports Events confirmed the announcement in their own tweet and accompanying press release. In it, Evgeny Kalganov, event director at Epic Esports Events, shared a statement on the cancellation:
"We are very sorry to report this, but the tournament we were all looking forward to has been cancelled. The safety of players, fans and employees is the most important thing for us. Anyone who has already purchased tickets for EPICENTER Major will receive a refund as soon as possible."
"We hope that the threat of a pandemic will soon pass, and EPICENTER will again host the best teams in the world."
We're sorry to say this, but #EPICENTER Major we were all looking forward to has been canceled due to the increasing danger of the spread of COVID-19.— EPICENTER (@epicentergg) March 16, 2020
The safety of players, fans, staff and everyone involved is the most important thing for us.
The cancellations have thrown the DPC, currently in the middle of its season, into turmoil. Questions about DPC points, qualifiers for The International 2020, and rescheduling have flooded the responses to the cancellation announcement.
The operator of the Dota 2 statistics site datDota, Ben Steenhuisen, shared his thoughts on a potential solution to the issues. The Dota stats guru suggested an alternative to the Major involving direct invites for top teams and a wildcard tournament.
At this stage Valve should should probably just do something like:— Ben Steenhuisen (@followNoxville) March 15, 2020
* directly invite the current top 7 teams (TNC/Vici/Secret/EG/IG/[A]/Liq)
* do regional qualifiers (1 slot per region = 6 teams)
* have a wildcard tournament for 6 teams (1 per region) where the top 3 get into TI.
Other ideas have suggested online regional tournaments (similar to next year's new DPC format), full postponement until October and giving 100 DPC points to everyone who makes it through the qualifier.
Ultimately, until Valve releases an official statement, there is little teams, players, and fans can do but wait and see.
Valve's decision to cancel the events is no surprise with a raft of publishers and tournament organisers doing like-wise in the face of the ongoing Coronvirus outbreak with has infected over 170,000 worldwide and been the cause of 6,686 deaths.