Valve announced on Wednesday via its official blog that it will be rescinding its Pro Circuit sponsorship for Galaxy Battles II. The event was designated as a Major, with $1 million USD at stake, as well as Qualifier Points for those aiming to attend The International 8.
The basic explanation given by Valve cites recent Filipino regulations regarding esports players in the country:
Based on information we’ve recently confirmed regarding new government regulations for esports players entering the Philippines, we have decided to rescind the tournament’s Major designation, including the Pro Circuit qualifying points, for the Galaxy Battles 2018 tournament. This is based on what we feel are unreasonable infringements on the privacy of the players, as a condition to enter the country. The tournament itself may still proceed, but without any involvement of Valve or the Dota Pro Circuit.
The most likely laws appear to be the recent implementation of “e-gamer” [sic] licenses, which recognize esports players as athletes under Filipino law.
According to the official government website, in order to get a license as an “e-gamer,” potential players must pay out 800 pesos (about $16-17 USD at time of writing) as well as send in forms, reports and tests. This includes but is not limited to drug testing, a mandatory “club” or organization sponsorship, photo ID and more.
There are also separate recent fees and regulations for esports event “promoters.”
While it is not clear public and officially whether or not international “e-gamers” coming into the Philippines require such a license, it appears, from the phrasing of the Valve blog, that players are being subject to to such regulations.
Valve claims to be working with organizers Fallout Gaming and players to create another similar Major-status event, with the same or similar participants and point/prize designations.
The Flying Courier has reached out to Fallout Gaming and will update if there is a response.