Valve Steps In on Dota 2 Chongqing Major Controversy, TNC “Mishandled” the Situation

Valve Steps In on Dota 2 Chongqing Major Controversy, TNC “Mishandled” the Situation

Clearing up the controversy of the Dota 2 Chongqing Major, developer Valve claims mismanagement from TNC Predator and bans Kuku from Major competition.

You may remember last week’s extraordinary report that esports team TNC Predator alleged that organizers for an upcoming event threatened the safety of one of their controversial players. Following many big players in the Dota 2 scene and blowback on the dedicated community, developer Valve has stepped in, claiming that the points that TNC brought up were false and that the team had “mishandled the situation on multiple organizations.”

Here is your spark notes to the background of the piece. Two players came under fire from the Chinese Dota 2 community after using the slur “ching chong” in official and unofficial games. With growing tensions, Valve previously stepped in with a statement on racial overtones in games, offering this statement:

Valve will not tolerate racist language between pro players in any form. We think it is really damaging to the entire Dota community whenever even a single professional player uses discriminatory language.

Refusing to directly take action on the two players, TNC seemed to not do anything themselves publicly to defuse the tensions. Soon after, TNC claimed in a series of tweets that they will be skipping the Chongqing Major due to veiled threats:

This led to obvious controversy, with esports shoutcasters bowing out of attendance in solidarity with the players.

After a few days, Valve has once again stepped in with a direct statement on the situation. According to their blog post titled “TNC and Chongqing Major,” they first noted that parts of TNC’s claims and other reporting were patently false:

First, for clarification, Kuku is not banned by the Chinese government. While there is a lot of anxiety around his attendance and problems it may create, we do not believe his presence creates a real security threat.

Following that, Valve made it clear once again that they were hoping that TNC would have taken it upon themselves to discipline their players for violations of policy. Valve had previously told TNC that they would be able to replace their player Kuku in the Chongqing Major without penalty. Choosing not to take that option and following TNC’s efforts to coverup the situation (both with this series of tweets and another series of events), Valve decided that they will unilaterally ban Kuku from the Major.

TNC has mishandled the situation on multiple occasions, making the situation much worse than it needed to be.

Last but not least, Valve has underscored some new rules for Dota 2’s esports scene surrounding organizations’ inability to affect change of violations. They noted that the players and teams will need to accept the responsibility of mistakes that they make. Otherwise, Valve “will step in.” Finally, Kuku’s ban does not extend to The International or other future tournaments — a smart distinction, given that the major esports event will be held in China this year.

For what its worth, TNC Predator seems to be taking the bad press in stride, with the management posting an official apology via Twitter:

While Valve is under hot water for other issues and under pressure with the launch of the Epic Games Store, it seems they deftly threaded the needle on this controversial issue. They have disciplined TNC while leaving them open to The International attendance, pacified the broader Dota 2 community, and taken the blame from China and Chinese audiences.