2015 has been a stellar year for gaming competitions. We saw ESPN cover the Heroes of the Dorm tournament, in which the winners would receive paid tuition for their college education. Nintendo is even joining the ranks of competitive gaming when, in a couple of weeks, it will bring the Nintendo World Championships to E3.
College tuition and being the greatest Nintendo gamer is great and all, but when it comes to Valve’s DOTA 2, no other game has brought more revenue and international attention. More revenue means more prize money, and this year’s The International competition has the largest prize pool in the history of eSports.
If you visit the DOTA 2 website, you’ll see that the current prize pool has surpassed $12 million. If you’re wondering how this money has accumulated, it comes from purchases of The Compendium. Every time it is purchased, 25 percent of its $9.99 price tag goes into The International prize pool.
The Compendium, for those unfamiliar with it, unlocks various features like in-game items and challenges that unlock more treasure. As more money comes in, DOTA 2 players will receive even more in-game goodies. So basically, this is something that every DOTA 2 player wants and it’s affordable, so why not buy it if you’re playing this title?
Valve set a stretch-goal for $15 million, but at this rate, we could see that number blown to smithereens. To put this into perspective, last year’s The International had a prize pool of about $11 million. Right now it’s over $12 million with a little less than 2 months to go.
Why Does This Matter To The Industry?
By many outside of our industry, video games have, for too long, been thought of as a useless waste of time and something that children play. They don’t require skill and they isolate you from other people. These competitions display to the entire world that not only do these games require skill, but competitors’ successes rise and fall on their ability to communicate and work well together.
It may seem like an understatement, but $15 million is the kind of figure that makes people take notice. Companies will want to be sponsors and broadcasting channels and services - like ESPN and YouTube - will want competitions like The International to be seen solely on its service/channel.
The legitimacy of the video games industry correlates with the health of the video game industry, and The International is helping both.
What do you think of this prize pool and will you be tuning into The International? Let us know in the comments below!