Valve Voices Concerns Over US Travel Ban
"We have people who work at Valve who can't go home," Gabe Newell says.
Valve is the latest member of the video game industry to speak out about the recent travel ban in the United States.
During a recent roundtable, the studio identified two areas where it's affected by the executive order, PC Gamer reports. The first of these involves esports and The International, Valve's big annual Dota 2 tournament, which takes place in Washington.
"[A]ny pressure on visas getting into the United States is worrisome for us," Valve's Erik Johnson said. Gabe Newell added that getting international players into the country has already been a problem in the past. This is often due to a combination of the players' age--they're not always adults--and because esports still isn't widely understood.
The ban won't stop The International from behind held, but it could potentially move it out of the country.
"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."
Newell highlighted another point of concern regarding the inability of its employees to travel freely.
"We have people who work at Valve who can't go home," he 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," he added. "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."
Other developers, as well as industry trade group the ESA, have been vocal in their opposition to the executive order. Some developers have gone so far as to donate sales from their games to help fight it.
Just yesterday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled against reinstating the ban following a recent court order that put it on hold. From here, it will potentially go in front of the Supreme Court.
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