Developer Valve’s annual world championship in Dota 2 has boasted the biggest prize pool in eSports for several consecutive years. The 2019 edition, held at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, bagged the winning OG team an incredible $15,607,638 out of a total prize pool of $34.3 million.
Where does the money come from? The reason Valve can outpay their competitors in the gaming world is their experience in crowdfunding. Since 2013, the tournament’s prize pool has been crowdfunded via a battle pass system. The Dota 2 battle pass, called the “Compendium”, raises money from fans who buy them to get exclusive in-game virtual goods and other bonuses. 25% of all revenue made from he battle passes is added directly to the prize pool.
Dota 2 International format
What does a Dota 2 team have to do to raise the Aegis of Champions trophy and pocket enough money to comfortably retire? The road to success is long and tough. The top 12 ranking teams receive direct invitations for The International. Added to this dozen are the six winners of the Dota Pro Circuit, the regional playoffs in China, Europe, North America, South America, Southeast Asia and ‘ the Commonwealth of Independent States’.
At the International, the 18 contenders play in two separate best-of-two round robin groups, with the lowest placed team from both groups being eliminated. The remaining 16 teams then move on to the double elimination main event. The top four finishing teams from both groups advance to the upper bracket, and the bottom four to the lower bracket. After the first round of the lower bracket – a single-elimination, with the loser of each match being sent back home – the other rounds of both brackets are played in a best-of-three series. The winners of the upper and lower brackets meet each other in the Grand Finals and battle it out in a best-of-five series.
Dota 2 International 2020
The next time that The International is held, we can expect Valve to once again outshine all the other video game developers in prize money. However, they have announced that this year’s tournament is being postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic and haven’t yet revealed a revised date, stating that it might not even be this year. The format will remain the same but it could have an impact on the venue of the tournaments.
Several events in the Dota Pro Circuit have already been canceled. The OGA Dota PIT Minor, scheduled for Spaladium Arena in Split, Croatia, for April 23-26, and EPICENTER Major, set for Moscow on May 2-10 were canceled by Valve on March 15. ESL ONE Los Angeles scheduled for March 15-22 was postponed but then played online a week later. The ESL One event set to take place at the Birmingham Arena on May 26-31, has also been canceled and will be held online.
Whether The International 2020 will still be held at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden is a question that will be answered in due time. If it happens, the Grand Finals might be able to break the spectators record in the world’s largest spherical building, set by rock band Metallica in 2018 when 17,303 attended.
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