Dota 2 is one of the premiere games in eSports, and it is scheduled to have one of the first big eSports tournaments of the year on January 15. Called Galaxy Battles, the $1 million tournament was designated a Major tournament by Valve and had the company’s full-backing, with participating players able to earn Pro Circuit qualifying points. However, Valve has since dropped its support of the tournament due to new government regulations in the Philippines that would require Dota 2 players to be drug-tested.
Thanks to a new law that was put in place last summer, eSports athletes in the Philippines are tested for drugs like marijuana and methamphetamine, which can potentially disqualify them from competing. Drug testing is becoming more commonplace in eSports, and some fans may be confused as to why Valve has decided to drop its backing for the Galaxy Battles Dota 2 tournament because of the regulations.
Well, one likely reason is due to the current drug war being waged by President Rodrigo Duterte. Duterte is looking to eliminate drug use in the Philippines by having all drug dealers and users killed, which may be why Valve didn’t want to risk having Dota 2 eSports athletes tested for drugs at the event.
Valve withdrawing its support of the Galaxy Battles tournament has already seen four of the 16 teams that qualified, including current International Champions Team Liquid, drop out of the event. Whether or not these teams will be replaced remains to be seen, but it’s hard to see how a team as big as Team Liquid would be replaced.
In the meantime, all 16 teams will be invited to a later tournament that Valve is currently in the process of organizing. This tournament would give all qualified teams a chance to earn the Pro Circuit qualifying points that they are now missing out on due to Galaxy Battles 2018 losing its Valve backing.
While Valve backing out of this particular tournament for drug testing seems justified due to the violent War on Drugs being waged in the Philippines, eSports athletes will soon have to accept drug testing as part of the job. As eSports continue to grow in popularity, regulation of the sport will likely become even stricter, especially since it is being featured at the 2022 Olympic Games.
Dota 2 is available now for PC.