Valve’s ‘The International 2019’ (TI19 – the world championship for its game Dota 2) has officially raised the largest single-event prize pool in esports history.
Currently, the total prize pool amounts to $30.4m, thereby surpassing the previously highest single-event prize pool of $30m (provided by Epic Games for its Fortnite Word Cup).
The tournament will be held in China for the first time in 2019, hosted by the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai from August 15th-25th.
Analysis and Comments
This is a significant development for a number of reasons:
Dota’s ‘The International’ prize pool is almost entirely crowdfunded via an in-game sale of a so-called ‘Battle Pass’,
only 25% of the in-game sales actually go towards the prize pool,
there are still more than 30 days left before cowdfunding stops, and
since the inception of crowdfunding the TI prize pool, the event has consistently broken its own record every year.
In summary, this is an all-time high in prize pool money for any esports event, showcasing both strong and growing support from the gaming community as well as from developers themselves: Last year, Epic Games announced it would support its Fortnite esports scene by providing a total of $100m for the 2018-2019 season, with the game’s World Cup featuring a $30m prize pool. This is the most any publisher has ever committed.
Esports serve a number of purposes, the main being extending the lifeof a game by encouraging and supporting an active gaming community. This is more important now than ever, as developers/publishers are moving away from the one-time up-front payment model towards in-game monetisation via downloadable content (DLCs) over the life of the game.