Those who don’t know much about the eSports scene will probably be surprised that more than 20,000,000 fans streamed The International Dota 2 tournament two weeks ago The event, which ran from July 18th-21st, had over 2 million concurrent viewers in their run-up to the grand total of 20 million streamers.
With the best Dota 2 teams from the entire world assembled, it was a must-see for active fans of the game and evidently garnered interested from elsewhere too. In the end, the International Dota 2 Championships have certainly made a strong case for e-sports as a whole.
The total prize pool for the tournament totaled just over 10 million dollars, with the winning team taking a cool 5 million US dollars for their efforts along the path to success. With such serious money and support behind the tournament, it’s not surprising to know that the event was covered online and through mobile devices by both ESPN2 and ESPN3, which marks one of the first times a major sports network has gone all out to air an e-sports competition. Valve’s very own founder, Gabe Newell, appeared on the channel this past Sunday – and his coworker Erik Johnson had this to say about the event:
From the success of the Compendium to the collaboration with ESPN, this year’s International really demonstrates how much competitive gaming has grown to rival traditional sports. We believe the teams have also pushed to a new level of play this year and will further demonstrate the incredible advances made across this tournament since it first began three short years ago.
The competition had a unique way of raising funds for the event called the Compendium system. Players could purchase a compendium in-game, of which $2.50 would go to funding the prize pool of the tournament. The compendium could then be leveled by making purchases within the Dota 2 store, or collecting drops inside the game, which would then reward the players with different tiers of cosmetic items. The system was a huge success – it would be hard to argue that the 10 million dollar prize pool was in any way a failure.
Compared to last year’s championships, 2014 brought in about double the number of concurrent streamers. Games like Dota 2, StarCraft 2, and League of Legends have made strong impacts on the eSports scene, which isn’t devoid of its own controversies. We won’t even go into the popularity of online gambling base on the game. Though still more popular in countries like South Korea and China, it’s good to see the influence and competitiveness of competitions like this are on the rise in North America and Europe as well.
What do you think about e-sports, Ranters? Is this your scene, or would you prefer to watch different games?
Follow John Jacques on Twitter @Makelevi.