President Trump's immigration policies could force Valve's DOTA 2 tournament The International to live up to its name. In a press roundtable attended by PC Gamer, Valve's Gabe Newell and Erik Johnson talked about the possibility of moving The International outside of the country.
While the original International tournament in 2011 took place at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, the annual competition has been held in Seattle since then. But even under the Obama administration, travel visas were an issue, Newell said, with some teams made to apply multiple times before being granted visas, or denied them entirely. He added that Trump's policies further complicate matters, while Johnson acknowledged the company would at least consider moving The International outside of the US.
"We're gonna run the event no matter what," Johnson said. "Ideally we'd run it here [in Seattle] because it has a bunch of advantages being close to our office. But the event's going to happen. So yes, if it became too difficult, we'd find a way."
Of course, Trump's executive order applies not just to the people who play Valve's games but the people who make them as well.
"We have people who work at Valve who can't go home," Newell said. "They've been here for years. They pay taxes. They cheer for New England in the Super Bowl and we try to not hold that against them... But you know, they can't leave the country. So, like, there's some event outside the country, and for the first time we say, 'Wait, they can't go because they can't get back.' So that's a problem, not just these hypothetical future employees but actual Valve employees. So yeah, that's a concern for us."
Valve is by no means alone in its concern. Blizzard, Insomniac, Harmonix, Unity, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Zynga, and scores of other tech companies have come out against Trump's executive order on immigration. The order itself was challenged in court and struck down. The government appealed that judgment and lost the appeal, but it is expected that it will further appeal the matter to the Supreme Court.