After the conclusion of EPICENTER: Moscow this weekend, the $500,000 (~£393,850) prize money awarded has edged Valve title Dota 2 over the $100,000,000 (~£78.7 million) mark for total prize money awarded.
Dota 2, one of the “big three”, alongside Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends, is famous for The International. The flagship event is crowd-funded from $1.5 million upwards and continues to break records year on year. The bulk of the prize money awarded has stemmed from Valve’s five Majors (each offering a purse of $3 million) and The International each year.
The prize money for The International historically has been as follows:
- The International: $1.6 million
- The International 2: $1.6 million
- The International 3: $2.9 million
- The International 4: $10.9 million
- The International 5: $18.4 million
- The International 6: $20.8 million
The total prize money awarded for The International events and Valve Majors is a staggering $71.2 million which clearly comprises the bulk of the $100 million landmark.
The prize money for this year’s The International is on course to be the largest esports prize pool to date. It currently stands at $14.6 million but with other treats yet to be revealed to the Dota audience it’s looking likely that it may well usurp the staggering $20.7 million of last year.
Whilst no one can fully endorse Valve’s structure and hands-off approach to the Dota 2 esports scene, there’s certainly no shortage of prize money floating about. Riot’s League of Legends sits second at a figure nearing $41.5 million which is simply dwarfed by Dota’s efforts. Whilst Riot has a considerably more structured esports scene with franchising recently introduced to the North American LCS and CS leagues, Dota continues to exhibit more of a “wild west” approach with third party tournament organisers still fairly prevalent.
There are clearly concerns about the sustainability and money available for those competing anywhere but the top. The staggering prize money on offer at The International is only shared between the sixteen teams that are skilled enough to compete. According to esportsearnings.com, only 10 of the top 75 esports players in the world (by tournament earnings) are from outside Dota 2. Whilst the best are very well rewarded, there’s limited exposure for team owners and brands outside of premium tournaments and competition below the best is arguably not as well nurtured or supported as in other titles such as League of Legends or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Regardless, reaching such an impressive landmark before The International 7 arrives deserves credit where credit’s due. The title has quite rightly earned a reputation for having mammoth prize-pools and that looks set to continue. We should celebrate the game, which still serves up great viewing figures and entertainment rather than questioning the approach from Valve.
The era following The International is often where Valve announces (at least vaguely) its plans for the months/year ahead in Dota so we’ll have to wait and see what approach the developer takes going forward.
Esports Insider says: Congratulations to Dota 2 – $100 million is quite the number. We’re on the home straight now to The International with a few tournaments left to play and then the crunch qualifiers for the world’s largest esports event by prize pool. Good luck to everyone involved.