The Chinese leg of the Intel Extreme Masters tournament has been cancelled with some speculating that China/Japan political tensions are to blame.
The event, which was scheduled from September 30 to October 4, was expected to see increased traffic due to the Chinese holiday season. However, a post on GosuGamers suggests that the barring of Japanese vendors presented a situation where the convention could not continue. According to unofficial sources, these vacancies are politically motivated.
Empty booths would mean a lack of revenue, and the event could not find a compromise.
Michał Blicharz, ESL’s Director of Pro Gaming, had this to say:
We are terribly sorry to disappoint esports fans that were expecting to enjoy the event, especially all Chinese esports fans. Unfortunately, the circumstances that forced the cancellation upon us were entirely beyond our control, though we understand and respect the decisions made by the Anime Comics and Games organizers.
Despite this setback, we are working very hard on delivering more fantastic events for esports fans around the world. We will soon announce more Intel Extreme Masters tournaments, including another one in Asia.
Tensions between the Chinese and Japanese government have raised lately over the ownership of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands due to the potential for oil resources. The islands are considered part of Taiwan by the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China governments, but Japan does not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state. The Japanese government considers the islands part of Ishigaki in the Okinawa prefecture.
This may be the first time that we see national politics play a part in eSports, but it may not be the last; though the games may be played online, LAN tournaments (which bring in substantial revenue to companies and players) will need to keep these issues in mind as their product progresses.