Valve Put an End to the Drama Around Esl One Genting 2018


The drama starts when ESL announces the deal to exclusively stream their event on Facebook. This doesn’t sound so bad at first. Many people are still looking at the bright side of the partnership like, it cover broader group of viewers and it will be good for Esports in a long run. Then ESL One Genting 2018 begin, just a few hours after the stream starts a lot of people are complaining on Dota 2 subreddit.

People are complaining about the lack of quality that the stream brings. The visual looks clunky, you can’t watch the stream without it buffers every five seconds, and there are issue when you try to watch the stream on the phone. This causes the number of viewers to shrink to around 2,000 for large parts of the broadcast, that’s an 85% loss of viewership compared to the usual stream on Twitch.

Looking at this mess, many casters and community figures are trying to re-broadcast the Dota 2 match on Twitch via Dota 2 ingame feature DotaTV. The fans were enjoying the alternative streams on Twitch, the numbers of viewers even surpass the viewers on the main stream on Facebook. ESL is definitely not happy with the situation.

Now the real drama begins, ESL was issuing DMCA takedowns on some of the streamers. BananaSlamJamma and MLPDota got banned from Twitch because of this. The move causes community uproar, because it seems that ESL is abusing the DMCA to shutdown streamers. Jonas “bsl” Vikan, ESL Tournament Director add his statement on reddit saying:

we are not going to allow any streams that are competing with our main language streams and we cant let streams that monetize content from this tournament stay up

The post from ESL is like adding fuel to the fire. How could ESL issues a DMCA takedowns on content they don’t have ownership of? The streamers are streaming the match from DotaTV not from the ESL main stream on Facebook and it is a fact ESL does not have the rights to DotaTV streams. Ultimately, ESL is posting an AMA to clarify this issue and when they are asked about the rights to DotaTV streams, they answered:

We create and produce the content of the tournament, we do have legal agreements with Valve for those tournaments, and we had streams taken down which violated a policy laid out and publicly communicated. This happens at all of our other events as well

Few hours after the AMA post, Valve posted a blog that put an end to the drama. Valve said “No one besides Valve is allowed to send DMCA notices for games streamed off of DotaTV that aren’t using the broadcasters’ unique content

They also added “We designed the DotaTV guidelines to be flexible in order to allow for up and coming casters, or community figures like BSJ or Bulldog that occasionally watch tournament games on their channel, to be able to stream off of DotaTV. It is not to allow commercial organizations like BTS to compete with the primary stream. It’ll be our judgment alone on who violates this guideline and not any other third party’s
Image courtesy of Oleksch

The community is delighted to hear the news. It’s the right move from Valve because Dota 2 is community powered and organizers and Valve should support what is best for the customers.