Coming this July, The International 4 will be the biggest and most lucrative e-sports tournament the world's ever witnessed. The annual Dota 2 championship already surpassed all previous records when its prize pool crossed the $6 million mark in May, but fans have kept adding to the chest of treasure, which has now grown to over $10 million. That number is more than three times the last high water mark for e-sports — the previous year's International fell just shy of $3 million — and compares favorably to the more established professional sports leagues like the NFL.
Dota 2 is on an unstoppable streak
Set to be contested by the 16 best Dota 2 teams from July 18th, The International 4 is moving to a bigger arena in order to accommodate the game's exploding popularity. It will be hosted in Seattle's 17,000-seat KeyArena, having previously taken place at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, and most recently at the 2,500-seat Benaroya Hall. Tickets for the weeklong gathering start at $99 and sold out within an hour of becoming available.
Valve is the organizer and chief funder of TI4, however the bulk of the prize money comes from purchases of the in-game Compendium. It's a means for Dota 2 players to get fancy new cosmetic items for their heroes and other perks while also helping to support the game they love. In classic crowdfunding style, each major milestone is accompanied by goals that release extra items, challenges, or bonuses for Compendium owners. Having surpassed the $10 million mark, Valve's fresh out of stretch goals, but with a number of weeks still to go, the Half-Life maker will surely be able to figure out new ways to appease its passionate audience.