Friday, February 23, 2018

The Bi-weekly Gamer web-exclusive: Dota 2 continues to provide

July 17, 2017 by Adam Boyle, staff writer

Although I don’t play Dota 2, I can respect it for being one of the leading esports in current times. The game, developed by Valve in 2013, is a MOBA-type game like League of Legends and has always been a  direct competitor to LoL. Naturally, Dota became an esport pretty fast. While the initial leagues are pretty straightforward and echo that of other MOBA games, what really sets the game apart from the competition is its annual big tournament, The International.

At first, the tournament was one of the smaller ones, and it didn’t get much publicity. What really caused some noise was when the tournament came to Seattle in 2014 and shattered biggest-prize-pool records when the total pool hit $10.9 million. Since then, Valve has discovered the importance of crowdsourcing funds for the tournament, through microtransactions in the game and by having direct donations set up.

The Bi-weekly Gamer is a column about competitive gaming that appears in every issue of Nexus.

The next couple of years the tournament broke the record time and time again, progressing all the way to an absolutely huge $20-plus million for the prize pool in 2016. Of course, with huge numbers like this comes huge exposure. TV stations across the globe broadcast the game live; stations like ESPN here in North America took flak for showing what some called “nerd games,” but because of the interest around why a video game could be interesting and why kids are getting paid millions to twiddle their thumbs, the station hit record viewers for a secondary sport.

Now, heading into The International 7, the prize pool sits at just over $20 million again. With over a month to go, expectations are high that the record will once again be broken and gamers will again be going home with approximately $10 million for first place. Coverage will be huge and Dota 2 will, for a small window of time, be the most viewed esport in the world. The game will continue to grow for a few more years, but, as with most things, I think it will plateau and eventually decline.

Until then, the game definitely provides a huge boost to the esports world.

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