2015 continues to be a banner year for eSports. Competitive gaming is getting play on ESPN, more developers are starting to create their own tournaments, and even Nintendo is jumping into the fray in a couple of weeks with the return of the Nintendo World Championships. Needless to say, there is increasingly more and more money up for grabs just for being good at video games. But no game has put as much money into the hands of its players in the last year as Valve’s Dota 2.
Valve’s annual The International competition is essentially the Dota 2 world championship, and it’s very lucrative. The International 2014 raised a prize pool of nearly $11 million thanks to strong sales of the Dota 2 Compendium, which raises money for the tournament through crowdfunding.
But last year’s prize pool will likely look like small potatoes by the time The International 2015 rolls around in August. This year’s Compendium sales have helped The International 2015 surpass last year’s total, and there’s still 60 days left before the competition.
Dota 2′s official website now shows the current prize pool for The International 2015 at $11.8 million dollars. Every time someone purchases the Compendium for $9.99, 25 percent of the total is put into the prize pool.
For those unfamiliar with Dota 2, the Compendium unlocks special in-game items based on the total amount of money raised, and players can earn additional treasures by completing in-game challenges. The Compendium will also serve as an event guide to the competition once it gets underway.
Valve set its final stretch goal for this year’s competition at $15 million. But if the sales continue at the current rate, it looks like The International 2015 will surpass the developer’s highest expectations. Of course, Valve could easily add additional stretch goals once the final milestone is hit.
Dota 2 is not an easy game to get into for those who have not played it before, and yet, the title has done more to generate headlines in the mainstream press than many other games that are considered to be eSports titles. The larger the prize pool grows, the more articles will likely be published in the mainstream press when the event kicks off.
And that’s a big deal. For as much progress as eSports has made over the last couple of years, gamers are still encountering some resistance. There was some backlash when ESPN broadcast a Heroes of the Storm tournament, with a lot of people on Twitter scratching their heads as to what all the fuss was about.
But as the prize pools for eSports competitions increase into the millions, it’s going to be harder for people to keep cracking jokes about these events. With every sale of this year’s Dota 2 Compendium, eSports gets just a little bit closer to mainstream acceptance.
The International 2015 will take place August 3-8 in Seattle.
Source: VG 24/7