The Uncertain Future of Dota 2 Esports in 2024

The Uncertain Future of Dota 2 Esports in 2024

We’re all still waiting to see what Valve’s plans are for their famous esport.

Things are looking quite murky for Dota 2 esports in 2024. The year has only just begun, but we’re already getting updates on the 2024 plans of other esports. Valve, Dota 2’s developer and publisher, has remained radio silent, however, which may be a cause of concern.

This stems from an announcement they made late last year about the end of the Dota Pro Circuit. Valve’s reasons were logical enough — in the six years that the DPC was running they felt it didn’t really do a good job in expanding the Dota 2 esports scene. Add to this the inconsistent quality of major tournaments and the frequent pro and fan gripes, it’s easy to see how Valve came to their conclusion.

The Uncertain Future of Dota 2 Esports in 2024
Team Spirit faces Gaimin Gladiators at The International 2023 grand finals. (Photo by Dota 2 The International)

What’s puzzling, however, is that they offered no clear replacement for the DPC. Professional tournaments will still be going on but now it seems like it’s up to individual organizers to do the heavy lifting if they want to host a Dota 2 event. Valve says that grassroots tournaments have been around longer than the DPC and they want to return to that but the scale of these events has changed drastically since those days. Just how many organizers are looking to run an international Dota 2 tournament without any support from Valve?

What’s more, despite its shortcomings the DPC was vital for providing a path towards The International for professional teams. It also meant that pros and fans alike knew what to look forward to for the rest of the year. Without that guidance, everyone’s now left in the dark about what events to prepare for in 2024.

Controversial decisions

There were already rumblings of big changes to the pro scene early last year thanks to the 2023 Compendium. The Compendium has always been Valve’s way of crowdfunding The International’s massive prize pools by offering in-game cosmetics to players. However, last year they decided to remove value from the Compendium and move it to more regular and substantial updates to the game.

On paper, this sounds like a win for the wider community but this also led to the lowest International prize pool since the inclusion of crowdfunding in 2013. 

The Uncertain Future of Dota 2 Esports in 2024
(Image by Valve)

Dota 2 esports has always had a problem of keeping all the money to those at the very top. Only the strongest and most well-known teams ever get a taste of those million-dollar payouts. Meanwhile, teams just a few rungs below barely scrape by. With how difficult it is to maintain a professional Dota 2 team, imagine what pros are thinking when they see that the prize at the end of the road is dwindling.

It’s clear that Valve needs to do more in 2024 to support Dota 2’s esports scene as a whole. Improving the game is one thing, but sustainability shouldn’t belong to only a few teams. In this light, the discontinuation of the DPC is untimely as teams are left guessing for what’s next.  

A hands-off approach

Valve has always been notoriously distant with handling Dota 2 esports and it looks like that’s not changing in 2024. It’s what led to the disparity between tournaments in the DPC as different organizers were in charge of tournaments depending on where it was being held while Valve acted as supervisors. 

It’s worked well in the past as it’s allowed for some truly unique experiences to emerge from their events. But now we’ve reached a point where they can’t just let the community figure it out this time. The current roadmap for Dota 2 esports is looking very sparse and if they continue to stay hands off, it’s likely to do more harm than good.

Banner photo by Dota 2 The International.

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