If you are a Dota 2 player and you have played Ogre Magi, that is the sound you want to hear—it means that your ultimate skill, the Multicast, has proc’d.
That is also the sound you hear when you check The International’s prize pool tracker, which now amounts to $13,166,768.00: a giant PHP 770,460,012.90. Not to mention that the amount will still increase given that we are still a few weeks away from TI. You can check out the tracker here.
However, this is a measly amount compared to last year’s The International 10 prize pool, which hit the $40 million mark. Yes, that is PHP 2.35 billion. But such is the world of eSports, and you might be wondering why.
Not a mere computer game
eSports events boast million-dollar prize pools. And although Dota 2’s The International offers the highest prize pool for the grand champion, other eSport games are not really far behind.
The 2019 Fortnite World Cup Finals? $30 million. The 2018 League of Legends World Championship? $6.4 million. The 2020 Call of Duty League Championship? $4.6 million. To say that there is money in eSports is a terrible understatement.
Since 2013, the evil geniuses (pun unintended) at Valve Corporation, Dota 2’s developers, have come up with a Battle Pass mission-reward system within the game. Cosmetics, iconic voice lines (for example, Lon and Dunoo’s Lakad Matatag! Normalin Normalin!), Arcana sets, and even Taunts are all purchasable in-game.
A quarter of all the revenue directly funds The International.
Yes, TI is, to a huge extent, crowdfunded. Because a lot of Dota 2 players engage in these micro-transactions, from casual players to Arab princes purchasing everything upon release, TIs have become the largest single-tournament prize pool among all eSports.
This year, Valve made a change in the Battle Pass system–there will be TWO sets of it instead of the usual one. The first battle pass happens before TI, and the second one happens after. This move by Valve polarized the Dota 2 community, with a lot of pundits calling this a “cash grab” from the gaming giant. Ka-ching!
Because Dota 2 tournaments are lucrative, especially the Valve-sponsored ones, a lot of young players are being drawn into the uber-competitive Dota 2 pro scene. For instance, the oldest member of TI10 champions Team Spirit is only 25 years old. However, a lot of pro players have expressed their dismay over the 2022 2-part battle pass hullabaloo.
Insiders have leaked that 100% of the revenue from the second installment of this year’s battle pass will be kept by Valve. A lot of experts are predicting that the prize pool will be significantly lower this year, which bucks the trend of TI always breaking the record of the previous year’s prize pool amount.
Pro player Tommy Le, better known as Taiga of OG, suggested that Valve use a portion of the revenue to fund next year’s DPC (Dota Pro Circuit) to benefit teams and players who won’t win TI.
Dota 2 Streamer Singsing even called the promo a “beta” battle pass.
Regardless of how this situation develops, one thing is certain: The International is here to stay for as long as we play Dota 2. After all, who does not want that new, kick-ass male Phantom Assassin persona?