Last night, Valve finally officially reacted to the ongoing Carlo “Kuku” Palad vs China drama. While their press release lacks structure and is poorly worded at times, one thing is clear. Valve expected TNC to take care of this internally so that they didn’t have to step in as a regulatory body. Valve hates the hands-on approach and we all know that by now.
So, when TNC failed to deliver the expected decision, Valve had to swing the axe to end the turmoil. The whole situation started to spin out of control, especially when some of the talent reacted on Twitter, organizing a makeshift boycott of sorts.
But going to the root of the problem, the issue has always been the source of the eventual ban for Kuku. And the key word there is “eventual”. The community was galvanized by the rumor that Kuku might be forbidden by the local government to attend the event. Obviously, most people would have their injustice nerve rattled by that position, even though it might not be the most rational reaction. The problem with that position is that it has never been substantiated by facts. There is no local official document or statement that bans Kuku from entering China. Lots of people tweeted about it, nobody can produce the paper to back that claim. And organizing a crusade based on rumors might not be the smartest endeavor ever.
But now that Valve made up their mind about regulating community issues, a precedent has been set. It’s true that there is no rulebook to dispense punishments for various possible breaches of conduct. Apparently, Valve is writing that on the go and most likely this type of approach will not please everyone. However, it is a step in the right direction.
Now, going back to the crusading boycott, looking at their initial tweets, the casters who decided to be solidary with Kuku, not all of them made quite clear their opponent on the issue. Is it the local government, of which there is no proof so far that they interfered, is it the Chinese community, that clearly had their part in blowing the issue out of proportions, or is it Valve, which might turn into a “bite the hand that feeds you” kind of conundrum.
same 🙂 i'm not going to any valve event thats in china unless the ban is lifted or dpc is removed. Including TI9. https://t.co/cI8BKuWryL
— Henrik Ahnberg (@AdmiralBulldog) December 2, 2018
Their reaction to Valve’s press release would suggest that they’ve toned down their protest, now it remains to be seen if they revert their decision regarding their participation at the Chongqing Major. Capitalist’s long twit on the subject is a very balanced opinion, which doesn’t quite justify his decision to decline the Major invitation, to be honest.
I'm personally pleased Valve stepped in. I think they should do so more often and take more of a lead on esports. I do however wish it hadn't taken all the drama for it to happen.
I hope now we can all move on, unite against racism in any form and get back to great dota.
— Redeye (@PaulChaloner) December 4, 2018
One last point that might be relevant to the matter is a very pragmatic one. Last week, Valve and Perfect World launched Steam China. Let’s say it would have been an official stand from the Chinese government, local or otherwise, to ban Kuku from ever entering China. The Chinese authorities have a track record of banning way more popular personalities than the Dota 2 players with no recourse. Now walk in Valve’s shoes for a minute. Would you put in the balance Kuku’s career fate, of which he is entirely responsible, with the relationship with a hugely important business partner that opens the gates to a massive market for you?
Valve is not a political party, nor a state government. They can’t afford to dispense moral justice and jeopardize their strategies in the process. They are a hugely successful business after all and they all tend to be cold and efficient.