One of the biggest gaming competitions taking place this summer will be the International 2015 “Defense of the Ancients 2” tournament in Seattle, Washington from Aug. 3 to 8, which will feature teams from countries like China, Denmark, America, Russia, Japan, Korea and France.
“DOTA 2” falls into the genre of multiplayer online battle arena, commonly referred to as a M.O.B.A. In “DOTA 2,” two teams of five players pick characters called heroes that all have different and unique abilities. The goal is to destroy the other team’s buildings in the battle arena and ultimately a main structure that is called a throne. Destruction of the enemy team’s throne wins the game.
In 2011, the first International took place and boasted a prize pool of $1.6 million, with payouts to the top 8 and first place’s prize being $1 million. At the time, the prize pool was the largest prize pool in competitive “DOTA 2” play. Since then, that record has been exceeded and there are dozens of “DOTA 2” tournaments and leagues with prize pools ranging from five to six figure sums.
Much of the money going into these massive prize pools comes from millions of “DOTA 2” players when they purchase in-game digital content. Players who buy compendiums can watch all live streams of main events and qualifiers leading to the International, as well as previous matches.
This year, the International will feature 16 teams, twice as much as in previous years past. Although it hasn’t been officially cited as a reason, the sheer size of this year’s tournament definitely has an impact, as seen by the tournament being planned for six days instead of five as before.
The International’s has a massive impact across the world. China’s General Administration of Sport acknowledges competitive gaming as an e-sport and therefore, “DOTA 2” is talked as any other sport in that country. Recently, Blizzard Entertainment’s tournament Heroes of the Dorm, a tournament for the Blizzard game Heroes of the Storm, was covered by ESPN2.
Competitive gaming is not far from pay-per-view, like other sports events. As prize pools increase, soon there will be professional gamers making salaries and endorsements comparable to athletes. The day when we turn our televisions on and see professional gamers interviewed and highlighted on ESPN is certainly closer than we think.