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Tickets for the 2019 edition of Dota 2‘s The International are expected to not go on sale for another month. The reason is said to be Valve’s falling out with ticket seller Damai.
Since the tournament is being held in Shanghai this year, it made sense for Dota 2‘s developer to look for a local platform to offer its Chinese tickets on. Alibaba-owned Damai is the largest in the country. Unfortunately, this position also means it has attracted a lot of resellers and scammers.
Tickets being resold at inflated prices
Notably, when Damai was used to sell tickets for League of Legends World Championship 2017, many of these were instantly bought up by bots and redistributed at highly inflated prices. To give you an idea — when a similar situation occurred during the run-up to January’s Dota 2 Chongqing Major, 599 yuan (about $90 USD) tickets ended up being sold at a 2,000 yuan (about $300 USD) price point. The situation was made worse by fake tickets flooding the market as well.
Chinese portal Sina.cn has now quoted sources saying that Valve is looking to work with a different ticketing platform to remedy the situation. Netizens worry this may not be enough to deter scalpers, however. They’d rather see a different solution like ticket sales being bound to in-game accounts.
China proving a tough nut to crack for Valve
We don’t know the exact dates for The International 9 yet, but tickets for last year’s tournament became available at the end of March. It is now April, and according to the article it may be May before we know more.
China has traditionally been one of the game’s biggest markets, so hosting an International there made sense. It has proven to pose a wholly different set of challenges to the developer, however. From local governments demanding player bans to this, one wonders if Valve isn’t looking forward to returning stateside where visa problems were its biggest worry.
Qualification for The International 2019 is still ongoing. The current standings are available on the Dota Pro Circuit site.