Love it or hate it, Dota 2 is an esports phenomenon, and despite doubts circling around its continued success over the past few years, the prize pool for its annual tournament The International has continued to rise exponentially, year on year.
When you consider that the first International all the way back in 2011 totaled $1.6 million, it’s fairly staggering that now in 2019 the pool has just breached $30 million USD, breaking a record as the biggest prize pool for an esports tournament in the history of the term, pulling the rug from underneath the Fortnite World Cup which touted $30 million earlier this year. That might not seem like a comfortable victory but with more fundraising days left out of the 110 allotted, this will no doubt rise even further.
There are a number of reasons for the incredible jump in funding – the main one being that in 2013 Valve opened up the prize pool to the public, allowing Dota fans to contribute. This bumped the prize pool up by a healthy million and change. Ever since it’s been rising with gusto, culminating in the addition of a battle pass which players can invest in to receive special prizes.
The most recent of which is a persona for the Invoker hero that completely changes his model and effects, turning him into a young boy instead of a man. Every year Valve ups its game by trying out something bold with ‘The International’ prizes, which are always exciting and keep players who are in it for the long-haul interested. Heroes are also chosen to be given an Arcana (a special item that transforms their aesthetic) depending on player votes – which can be earned via the Battle Pass.
2019’s The International will take place in Shanghai, China between August 15-25 later this year, with 18 teams competing for the much sought-after prize. No doubt it won’t just be $30 million USD when the contest starts next month.