In a surprising move, Valve has revealed where its next International Dota 2 world championship will be taking place.
Minutes before the lower bracket finals of The International 8 between Evil Geniuses and PSG.LGD, Shanghai, China was announced as the location of The International 9. This is rather unconventional for Valve, which has historically been very secretive with revealing the locations of the tournament series.
Valve’s selection of China as a host for The International is not surprising. The country is one of the major global hubs of competitive Dota 2, with some of the best players and teams in the game for the past 10 years heralding from the country. Additionally, Shanghai has rapidly become one of China’s largest esports hubs in the past two years, with the city hosting multiple esports events per year.
Aside from the inaugural International event at the 2011 edition of the Gamescom expo, the past six iterations of the tournament series took place on Valve’s home turf in Seattle. The International 8 is the first event of the series in six years to move outside of the U.S.
On Feb. 10, 2017, Valve began openly discussing the possibility of relocating The International across the world. While Valve specifically cited the proposed U.S. travel ban against seven muslim-majority countries, The International is also notorious for visa issues, particularly concerning teams from Southeast Asia and CIS.
No dates for The International 9 have been revealed yet, however.