The International 9 will be hosted in Shanghai, China at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in the summer of 2019. This move was announced at The International 2018 through the form of a video featuring Shanghai Vice Mayor Weng Tiehui. Although The International 8 was the first TI hosted outside of the US, The International 9 will be the first TI hosted outside of mainland North America. This is a bold move by Valve, a US-based company, as it shuts out a large market in the US. Obviously, on the flip side, this is fantastic for the Chinese scene because games are more accessible than they ever have been.
The time change from PST to CST, China standard time, is a massive +15. This means that if games are starting at noon, viewers on the West Coast will watch their first game of the day at 9PM. This effect is even more dramatic for East Coast viewers who will have their first game at 12AM. It is important to keep in mind though that for every other International, this has been affecting Chinese viewers.
The International Effect
The International has always been an event that encourages people to play DotA. Viewers tuning into the event witness the best DotA the world has to offer and are subsequently revitalized by its excitement. So hosting The International in a new region could have that effect on the player base within that region. It is vital to give the appearance of a thriving professional scene and hosting the tournament in China will surely do so. Seeing the Mercedes-Benz Arena filled with fans will certainly be eye-opening for curious individuals outside of esports.
Losing The International 8
PSG.LGD had a brutal ending to a magnificent run at The International 8. In a best of five series that actually went to five games, OG came out on top. Even worse, PSG.LGD’s two final games were close comeback games by OG who came back from a 2-1 deficit. This was certainly one of the most exciting finals bouts the eSport has ever seen. And it is even more exciting considering the fact that OG broke the China year spell. The International winner’s region matters immensely at times when Chinese teams win the west is uninterested and vice versa. So it will be interesting to see how well received hosting The International will be, as DotA continues to lose prominence in the region.
Remaining Dominant in a Budding Esports Scene
It is important to keep market share in budding markets and that is exactly what games are trying to do. Capitalizing on the early development stages of an entire industry is pivotal to some game’s success. As DotA loses market share to other games such as PUBG, Valve needs to make choices to keep interest in the game strong. And while DotA is by no means in a crisis situation, adapting to current market conditions is important.
Featured image courtesy of SmartShanghai
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