When EG (Evil Geniuses) won The International 5 in 2015, they set a record of $18,429,613 ($16,829,613 added by the Player Community) as a prize pool, which was by far the biggest seen for the annual tournament.
This year, however, that record is set to be broken. The team-based battle game by Valve has surpassed last year’s mark with just two weeks to spare before the International 6, 2016’s main event kicks off at the KeyArena in Seattle. As such, the current prize pool for The International 6 is $18,732,894 with $17,132,894 of that added from the Player Community.
How does Valve manage to do this? Well, for starters, they have adopted a rather unique crowdfunding approach to raise funds for the competition. They provide $1.6 million to get the ball rolling and then proceed with sales of in-game perks, quests, and cosmetics (kits for heroes).
In addition, for 2016, Valve also introduced the Battle Pass and Compendiums. These include weekend sales that are appropriately timed and have also put forth stretch goals. How does one reach these stretch goals? Well, all you have to do is buy more levels to unlock more loot. Not to mention that there’s a special prize for surpassing the 2015 record as well. Those who own a Battle Pass would now receive three treasure chests with a random item worth a lot in game.
It’s no surprise that The International 6 is now officially geared to be the most profitable e-sports tournament yet. Over the last year, Valve has split the The International with four $3 million tournaments, calling them “The Dota Major Championships”. By comparison, Riot Games’ League of Legends has a vastly larger player base, but rather opt to host an annual schedule of competitions rather than Valve’s less common and much larger marquee events.
On the other side, we also see the launch of Overwatch’s first major tournament which is a $300,000 contest that just kicked off during the last weekend. For Overwatch, it certainly is a big deal as it lays the groundwork to set the game up as a viable eSports title and for it to make a name for itself (although given the game’s widespread popularity, it seems to have that covered).
The only thing us Dota 2 players can do now is to see if TI6 can push past the famed $20 million mark before their loot chasing is all done and dusted.
What does a hero truly need? That is for you to find out.