Broadcasting Dota 2

Recently, as we’re preparing to get into the swing of a bunch of great tournaments, there has been a lot of discussion happening around who is allowed to broadcast professional Dota 2 matches. While there is a tendency to oversimplify issues like these, often times it takes a fair amount of effort to work through what the right outcome is for the community as a whole.

With any change to any of our products we tend to start with a framing question of “What is best for our customers”. This means all customers, not just the ones who care about professional play, but also those who ardently follow specific streamers, along with tournament operators and their sponsors. Generally we tend to try to tread pretty lightly around areas where the community outside of Valve is doing a lot of the work, primarily because we don’t want to stifle invention that leads to someone doing something really cool that we hadn’t thought of. The community has built many beneficial things for itself — websites like Dotabuff, contributions to the Steam workshop, independent broadcast studios, sites like DatDota, streamers with unique communities of fans – and because of that we think that the community should have broad license in terms of what is allowed.

Hopefully that background is useful when considering the specific issue of who should be broadcasting Dota 2 matches.

Broadly speaking, we see two groups of fans (with some degree of overlap). Some fans follow competitive play – they have favorite teams, players, casters, tournaments — and want to consume content directly from tournament organizers who are producing events. Other fans have strong affinities to specific personalities, and they watch them play games, talk about games, and cast a variety of professional, amateur, and pub games. We want to make sure that there is content available that serves both groups of customers.

To that end, in addition to the official, fully-produced streams from the tournament organizer itself, we believe that anyone should be able to broadcast a match from DotaTV for their audience. However, we don’t think they should do so in a commercial manner or in a way that directly competes with the tournament organizer’s stream. This means no advertising/branding overlays, and no sponsorships. It also means not using any of the official broadcast’s content such as caster audio, camerawork, overlays, interstitial content, and so on. Finally, this is not permission for studios to broadcast each other’s events. In general, everyone should play nice together, and we think the boundaries should be pretty clear.

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