No flattening of Dota 2’s growth curve as 'TI10’ poised to break eSports prize money record
Dota 2's The International has grown each year since its inception in 2011, and this year, we are seeing a per day average of over $355,000. This is an increase of over $58,000 each day. The prize pool this year looks set to cross $45 million.
In the world of eSports, Dota 2's 'The International' (TI) - introduced in 2011 with the then historic prize pool of $1.6 million - has always been the biggest event in terms of prize money offered. Since 2013, when the event became crowd-funded (TI3), each successive iteration has generated greater revenue as well as a higher prize pool. The crowdfunding is done by Valve Corporation adding 25 percent of all in-game sales related to the event and its yearly compendium being added onto the base prize pool of $1.6 million. The event in 2019 made its latest record when the prize money hit $34.33 million, generated over a period of 110 days.
The eSports industry is one of the few to experience growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. The fact that TI10 will surpass all the previous iterations is great evidence that further supports the claim. The tenth edition of TI has already generated over $34 million for its prize pool. There are still over 20 days left for this figure to increase and as such it is sure to create a new record.
Each year, Valve Corporation sets two community milestones for the event prize pool. Valve Corporation offers players 10 free levels for their in-game compendium when a milestone is hit. The first of these milestones is always the figure of the previous year's prize pool. The second figure is the one set by the company with a new record in mind; the amount set this year for the second milestone is $40 million. One believes the second milestone will be achieved as well.
The event this year has the highest ever per day average for prize money generated. Last year, the average amount generated per day stood at a whopping $297,546. This year, we are seeing a per day average of over $355,000. This is an increase of over $58,000 each day. To add perspective, this is more than a 19.5 percent increase. If this trend continues, the prize pool will cross $41 million.
This year, due to technical problems that affected many players, the date for the end of the compendium was also pushed up by an extra week. This extra week would equal an addition of about $2.50 million based on the current trend. This should take the total past $43.5 million.
Each year the compendium rewards are released over time rather than having all of them awarded all at once. Given the trend, whenever a compendium reward is released, there is an increase in sales. In the final days of the compendium, we can expect the release for a few of these items. The releases will include the third of the promotional ‘Arcana’ items from this year’s compendium along with the third ‘Immortal Treasure’ for sure. A ‘Trove Carafe’ may also be released soon. In the previous years, these three items were released during TI itself rather than in the lead-up. However, with the ongoing pandemic, the event itself is postponed indefinitely.
Hence, it is expected that these three items will be released before the actual event as they have been contributors to the prize pool in the past. The last few weeks in the compendium also have the purchases made by some players who are desperately looking for extra levels in a bid to attain a specific reward they find exceptionally attractive.
Many players are tempted to buy their way to level 1,000 in the compendium as the reward is a scale replica of the tournament trophy. This is delivered to the player’s home by Valve Corporation.
Given the fact that certain prizes from the compendium are yet to be released and that the last few days always has some extra purchases, I believe that the prize pool this year may cross the estimate by a significant margin. One could even expect TI10 to have a prize pool of over $45 million.
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