November 1, 2023
Honkai: Star Rail, the acclaimed space-fantasy RPG developed by HoYoverse, sponsored both Chinese teams for The International 2023 (TI12). As part of the promotion, they ran a campaign offering "free" Stellar Jade to players based on how the teams placed at the event.
Based on the campaign, players would receive between 100 and 1000 Stellar Jade depending on the performance of Azure Ray or LGD Gaming. It was not specified whether the values would be added up if both teams placed within the points.
LGD Gaming and Azure Ray finished 3rd and 5th respectively, which means Honkai: Star Rail will have to pay out at least 600 and possibly 1100 Stellar Jade to players.
The extent of both teams' agreements with Honkai: Star Rail remains undisclosed, although the branding of Honkai: Star Rail was prominently featured on both teams' jerseys.
"LGD Gaming and Honkai: Star Rail have officially reached a cooperation! Honkai: Star Rail will sponsor the LGD Dota 2 division to compete in TI 2023. May this journey lead us starward!" - a translation of LGD's post read.
Rewards are being distributed starting today until November 15th at 6:00am and are available through the in-game mailing system.
It is worth noting that it is uncommon for a mobile game like Honkai: Star Rail to sponsor esports teams. The game does not even offer a PvP mode and is purely non-competitive PvE fun. However, this sponsorship aligns with HoYoverse's reputation as one of China's premier game developers and provides an opportunity to promote the game at a prestigious esports event. The long-term plans for Honkai: Star Rail's esports sponsorships are still unclear, but it will certainly expose diehard Dota 2 fans to the mobile game genre.
With the discontinuation of the Dota Pro Circuit in the upcoming year, third-party tournaments may become more prevalent in the Dota 2 esports domain. This opens up the possibility for games like Honkai: Star Rail and Genshin Impact, another game developed by HoYoverse, to not only sponsor teams but also entire Dota 2 tournaments. These sponsorships could indicate the growing overlap between casual gaming titles and the esports sector.
This influence is further demonstrated by the enthusiasm for these mobile games within the Dota 2 community. Professional player Wang "Ame" Chunyu showcased a cosplay of Genshin Impact's character, Childe, earlier this year, and a VALORANT player even forfeited a match to prioritize playing Honkai: Star Rail.