Valve's annual Dota 2 championship, The International, will kick off later today. Teams from around the world will compete from August 7-12 for the record-breaking $23 million prize pool--and, you know, bragging rights for being the best at the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) title.
The tournament's prize pool is raised via sales of The International Battle Pass. Dota 2 players buy the Battle Pass in exchange for access to a multiplayer campaign, in-game items, and other goodies, and Valve puts 25% of the sales towards The International's prize pool. This year's Battle Pass went on sale in May, and assuming our math checks out, that means Valve raked in roughly $92 million within the last few months.
Chances are good that the prize pool will increase as The International goes on. You can still buy a Battle Pass, after all, especially if watching pro-level gameplay makes you want to jump back in to Dota 2 yourself. That's exactly what Valve wants--you can watch the tournament in-game, via the Dota 2 website, or on Twitch, which means two of the three streaming platforms direct you towards playing the game yourself.
Valve has also worked to help The International appeal to new viewers. A dedicated "newcomer stream" will offer play-by-play analysis with beginner-level descriptions of what's happening on-screen. That could be crucial to helping Dota 2 find a new audience. MOBAs are hard to follow, especially if you don't play them yourself, and people are unlikely to stick around if they can't follow what's happening in a tournament like this.
A total of 16 teams are competing in The International this week, with Team Liquid and Invictus kicking things off at 10am PT today. They'll be followed by Evil Geniuses vs. Newbee at 1pm PT. That's it for the upper bracket; the teams in the lower bracket will compete at 4, 5, 6, and 7pm PT. You can find the full schedule on Dota 2's website for the rest of the match times, and Valve has made a bracket to help summarize things.
The prize pool will be split up as follows:
- 16th-13th place: $119,232
- 12th-9th place: $357,696
- 7th and 8th place: $596,159
- 6th and 5th place: $1,073,087
- 4th place: $1,669,246
- 3rd place: $2,503,870
- Runner-up: $3,815,420
- Winner: $10,492,406
Note that those figures will continue to change as The International progresses and more Battle Passes are sold. (We've watched the counter creep up just this morning, with the prize pool getting closer and closer to passing $24 million total.) If you want to watch as these teams compete for the top prize, you can do so via the Dota 2 website, the main Twitch stream, the newcomer stream, and within Dota 2 itself. Valve also has a dedicated "replays" section of the Dota 2 website that will let you watch past games without having the results spoiled.
|Type||Multiplayer online battle arena|
|Platforms||Windows, Mac, Linux|
|Where To Buy||Steam|
|Release Date||July 9, 2013|