Two of gaming’s biggest esports tournaments have officially gotten the axe for 2020, with both the Fortnite World Cup and Dota 2 International now delayed until at least 2021.
While physical sports events have shifted to digital formats to keep events in the calendar, esports tournaments haven’t made the same jump to online-only. That means the world’s biggest esports events can’t go ahead until it’s safe to host huge crowds in one place again.
The Fortnite World Cup alone pulled in 2.3 million viewers last year, making it the most-watched competitive gaming event ever outside China. Meanwhile Valve’s Dota 2 tournament is not only popular but also lucrative, with a prize pool of more than $30 million for last year’s event.
The hope is that both tournaments will return in 2021, but neither Fortnite publisher Epic Games nor Dota 2’s Valve were willing to commit to any dates either way.
“We don’t know when a return to large, global, in-person events will be practical, but we’re hopeful to be able to put on some form of Fortnite World Cup in 2021,” Epic said on the
Fortnite Competitive Twitter account, while Valve admitted that “we don’t expect to have enough confidence to communicate firm dates in the near future,” on the
Dota 2 blog.
Neither company is abandoning competitive play entirely. Other official Fortnite competitions will continue in online-only formats, while Valve says it is “working on restructuring the DPC [Dota 2 Pro Circuit] season for the fall.”
Neither season will be quite the same without its headline event though, which is sure to dampen interest across the board – even as interest in gaming in general soars during lockdown conditions.