Gamers compete for $10.5 million eSports prize

By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer

Dota 2 screen
Dota 2 features two teams defending opposite corners of a map, leveling up their “Hero” characters to destroy the other team’s “Ancient” in the enemy base.

Back in May, teams of gamers from the Americas, Southeast Asia, China, and Europe began competing for a chance to win the $10.5 million prize pool in Valve’s Dota 2 tournament, called The International 4. This week, the playoff phase ended, and 8 teams will now be heading to the Key Arena in Seattle for the Dota 2 Championship from July 18-21.

This mega video game competition is just one of many in the world, as the growing popularity of eSports skyrockets. Back in 2013, over 71 million viewers tuned in to watch gamers duke it out in various tournaments, and there was a total of $25 million in prize pool money given out. Game companies or organizations usually put up the money themselves, like Riot Games offering around $1 million for their League of Legends World Championship, and the recently concluded Evolution Championship handing out over $220,000 in moola.

The International 4, however, uses a blend of company money (Valve gave $1.6 million) and player money. To raise the rest of the millions, Valve offered a special in-game item called the Compendium for $10 that players can purchase for exclusive awards. The more money that was raised overall, the more that players received special goodies like multi-kill banners, unique character models, alternate voices, and base customization.

On Monday, July 21, the grand final will be played, and the winning team gets about $5 million of the over $10.5 million prize pool. The upper bracket of the competition will see teams ViCi, NewBee, Evil Geniuses, and Team DK battle it out for a slot in the grand final, while the lower bracket teams are Cloud9, the 2011 champions Natus Vincere, the 2012 winners Invictus Gaming, and LGD Gaming. What about 2013’s winners, from team Alliance? Unfortunately, they fell out during the group stage and ended up in 12th place.

Images courtesy of Dota 2 Facebook.