Over $10 million in prize money! Maybe the prize pool for the worldwide DotA 2 tournament doesn’t catch everyone’s attention, and I could sit here and quote attention-grabbing statistics all day, but that’s not why I’m here. I’m here to tell you why this event is not only important to DotA, but to gaming as a whole.
Not everyone knows what The International is or how it works, and that’s fine. The International is a yearly tournament hosted by Valve and held since 2010 for the game DotA 2. The tournament consists of 16 teams, of which 10 are invited and 6 earn their spots. That’s all you really need to know right now to understand what we’re going to talk about, and the first reason you should care about this silly little tournament.
You see that number there? That’s the prize pool. That’s what it was when I first started writing this thing, and about a month before, it was only at $1 million. I can practically guarantee you it will be different in about 10 minutes — yeah, no, it’s already gone up by another $25,000.
First reason you should care about The International! The money is put up by the game community. Valve starts with something like $1 million, then says, “Hey, 25% of every guidebook/level booster/cosmetic set we sell will go towards the prize pool.” While that may sound like “Oh, Valve is giving profits away for the tournament,” they couldn’t do this alone. I’ve seen people showcase in-game items that can only be obtained after pitching thousands of dollars towards this tournament.
Second reason you should care about The International! The great thing about these points is that they chain together nicely. In order to achieve such prize money, you must have a lot of fans, and DotA does. I could pull up an image of the sold-out Seattle Key Arena (which holds 17,000 people), or I could tell you that more than 25,000 people were watching the qualifiers at any given time on Twitch alone, excluding other streams. The point is, this is important to a lot of people — so many people in fact, that last year’s finals reached ESPN2. Of course, the reactions were less than stellar…
…but even ESPN said it was great for ratings, so there’s a chance it will air again.
Finally, the end of this stupid thing! In the end, The International is something that represents the growing acceptance of video games. I can’t imagine that game tournaments selling out stadiums, bars airing streams, and millions of dollars in crowdfunded prize money would have been commonplace just five years ago. I know not everyone is a fan of watching these games, and that’s fine. It’s not the game that’s important, but the community surrounding it.
Article by contributor CaptainLAXY.