Dota 2’s claim on the single largest prize pool for an esports event is secured anew. The primarily crowdfunded prize money for The International 2019 ticked over the $30 million USD mark on July 21.
— Wykrhm Reddy (@wykrhm) July 21, 2019
This new milestone is well beyond the $25,532,177 of The International 2018. It also ensures that TI9 will have more prize money than the next closest event, arguably Fortnite World Cup with a $30 million prize split across solo and duo competitions from July 26-28. Fortnite’s prize pool was put up entirely by Epic Games, while Valve has only contributed $1,600,000 to TI9’s pot.
Crowdfunding for the event centers around the Battle Pass, a compendium of rewards that unlock as players earn new levels, whether by acquiring points through in-game activities or, more likely, forking over money to buy them. Beyond the initial sales of the Battle Pass, there have been several boosts to encourage players to purchase new levels. These include the Summer Sale, which sold a two-times-only-per-player chunk of levels at a discounted price, the release of different sets of in-game hero cosmetics and, most recently, the release of a special cosmetic for Invoker that renders him as a child.
The International has always boosted life-changing money, and it’s the focal point of the entire Dota 2 professional scene. Players are typically only interested in securing their spots at this tournament each year, hence all the roster changes leading up to the qualifier period.
That said, there is a renewed call by the community for a sustainable scene during the rest of the year. See the thread below, tweeted by Beyond the Summit’s David “LD” Gorman.
30 million reasons for @dota2 fans to celebrate in August 2019
I just hope we have a reason to care again before August 2020
— David Gorman (@LDeeep) July 21, 2019
Gorman is certainly not the first person to remind us of the challenges of relying on Dota 2 for an income the fifty other weeks of the year. Only a sliver of the community benefits from TI. Sustainable incomes are in short supply for those who don’t get a huge payday from the competition.
Valve has released some details for the 2019-2020 Dota 2 Pro Circuit season, but these focused only around dates for Majors and Minors. There’s still time for Valve to establish a system that would benefit a larger portion of the hardworking individuals – players, talent and folks working behind-the-scenes – to ensure the scene stays healthy and vibrant for years to come.
Meanwhile, the Dota 2 community can once again celebrate their own generosity (or love of collecting in-game cosmetics) and the resulting record-breaking prize pool for The International 2019.