The rapid rise of e-sports continues this July with the biggest and most lucrative tournament held to date. The fourth Dota 2 International takes place in Seattle's 17,000-seat Key Arena, where the world's best teams are competing for a share of a spectacular $10.5 million prize pool, highlighted by a first place award of over $4.8 million.The majority of that funding comes from Dota 2's highly engaged and committed players, who've been buying in-game Compendiums of goodies and rewards that in turn have directly funded the TI4 prize pool. With a new, much larger venue, a prize pool that vastly outstrips anything that's come before, and a comprehensive set of online streaming options, The International 4 promises to be a seminal moment in the history of e-sports.
Aug 31, 2014Read Article >
If anyone is still questioning the legitimacy of e-sports, today should be a bit of a wake-up call. The lead photo on the front page of today's New York Times is of this July's $10 million Dota 2 tournament, The International. That's right: The Gray Lady has taken note, running a story on the rise of e-sports on the front page of its Sunday edition. The accompanying article is the first in a series exploring how competitive video gaming has developed into a spectator sport. The Times certainly isn't the first big media company to pay attention to e-sports: ESPN broadcast a preview of The International on one of its cable channels, and, of course, Amazon just purchased Twitch for $970 million. Even with all of this attention, however, there's still plenty of room to debate whether e-sports are a true sport.
Jul 30, 2014
The International 2014 already had the largest prize pool ever seen in e-sports, but now it can boast one of the largest audiences too. The Dota 2 tournament, the fourth such annual event organized by the game's developer, Valve, was watched live online by more than 20 million people. At its highest, the number of people watching at the same time was over 2 million, a figure that Valve says doubled last year's peak concurrent viewership.Read Article >
The viewer tally isn't the biggest in e-sports history — last year more than 32 million people watched the finals of Riot Games' League of Legends 2013 Championship Series — but Valve's $10 million prize pool easily outstrips the kind of money thrown around by Dota 2's pro-gaming rivals. The tournament also hit another important milestone for worldwide e-sports legitimacy — its final rounds were broadcast on mainstream US sports TV network ESPN, as well as on China's state broadcaster CCTV and European media network MTG Europe. Valve says the viewer total doesn't include those who watched the tournament on TV, tallying only the people who saw the action unfold online, either through streaming services such as Twitch or by using Dota 2's in-game spectator option.
Following an epic best-of-five clash between two of China's biggest teams, Valve today crowned a new champion of Dota 2, its free-to-play multiplayer game that has morphed into a sporting spectacle capable of filling NBA-sized arenas. Team Newbee triumphed over their compatriots Vici Gaming in four games and earn a grand prize of $5,028,308, to be split between the five players and their support team of coaches and managers. Vici Gaming may be disappointed with their play today, however they too go home with a sizeable stack of cash: the second-place team has earned nearly $1.5 million, sharing in a total prize pool in excess of $10 million.Read Article >
The International 4 has been by far the most lucrative, and now arguably the most prominent, event in the history of competitive gaming. The winners of the Aegis of Champions, Team Newbee, were set up in a hurry back in February, aiming to be ready specifically for this tournament while compiling a group of talented players from other big Chinese teams. The team's inception was hailed as the founding of China's Dream Team, and while it took a couple of roster changes to settle on the final squad, the ultimate goal of conquering The International has been achieved. Asked how they felt now that they're millionaires, each of the five players responded by saying it was "very awesome."
Getting paid to play video games sounds like the cushiest job in the world. Stumble out of bed, fill a bowl of cereal, boot up Steam, and go hunting for thrills and spills. Pants and personal hygiene are optional. That’s the pervasive, and in many cases valid, image of the professional gamer — a layabout with a purpose and a paycheck — but there’s a great deal more to making a living from gaming than meets the eye. Games are usually a leisure activity and an entertainment, but now they’re also generating enough income to sustain entire leagues and multimillion-dollar professional competitions.Read Article >
To get an insider’s perspective on the rigors and sacrifices demanded by a career in gaming, I spoke with two veterans of the trade: 22-year-old Peter “ppd” Dager and 25-year-old Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Arora from Evil Geniuses (EG). In spite of their young age, both have years of competitive experience and are the most senior members of a five-man squad that includes a pair of teenagers. They carry the EG banner into mythical battle in Valve’s massively popular Dota 2 multiplayer game, which today hosts the grand final of a $10 million tournament known as The International. Captained by ppd, EG came within just one win of reaching tonight's final against Team Newbee, but in the end had to settle for an honorable third place and a $1 million prize.
Jul 18, 2014Read Article >
The rapid rise of e-sports continues this weekend with the biggest and most lucrative tournament held to date. The fourth Dota 2 International takes place in Seattle's 17,000-seat Key Arena, where the world's best teams are competing for a share of a spectacular $10.5 million prize pool, highlighted by a first place award of over $4.8 million. This year the games will even be broadcast on ESPN. But do you know enough about BKBs and Roshan to follow along? Tune in to find out.
Jul 17, 2014
Valve is partnering with ESPN to air the championship rounds of this year's Dota 2 e-sports tournament. Dubbed The International, the tournament kicked off on July 8th and features a record-breaking prize pool of more than $10 million — most of which came from the game's dedicated fanbase. The final rounds of the tournament start tomorrow, and will be featured on the sports network's digital channel, ESPN3, in addition to Valve's own streams.Read Article >
The coverage also includes an ESPN-exclusive preview of Monday's final, which will air on ESPN2 at 8:30 PM PST on Sunday. Valve has made great efforts to turn the Dota 2 tournament into a more mainstream event, going so far as to introduce new streams designed to ease newcomers into the experience. The collaboration with ESPN should help the tournament continue to reach a broader audience. "This year's International really demonstrates how much competitive gaming has grown to rival traditional sports," says Valve's Erik Johnson.
The Olympic Games are as ancient a Greek tradition as the Athenian concept of democracy. So long as there’s been human culture, sports have been an integral part of it. In their many forms and over their long history, sports have provided relief from the trudgery of daily life and a less bloody way to resolve conflicts than all-out war.Read Article >
A new kind of competition has sprung up in recent years, inciting passion and fervor as sports have for centuries. However these competitions take place not on a court or a field, but inside the world of video games. So-called e-sports are growing rapidly and powerfully: the current Dota 2 tournament offers a rich purse, a huge audience, and plenty of glory for the winners. And it’s not the only one. E-sports have devoted fans and famous superstars, huge spectator numbers, and plenty of trash-talking.
Jul 10, 2014
The question "what is Dota 2" will be asked more times this month than at any other point in the game’s past or future. Valve is presently hosting the marquee Dota 2 tournament of the year, The International 4 (TI4), and its incredible $10.5 million prize pool has garnered attention from corners of the world that wouldn’t traditionally care about professional gaming. Whatever else happens at the event, its significance as a flagbearer and emissary for e-sports to a mainstream audience is already assured. But Valve won’t be satisfied if you just learn about this game’s existence. It wants to recruit you into its sphere of addictively intricate gameplay.Read Article >
Jul 8, 2014
Starting today the best Dota 2 players in the world will be competing for an insane prize pool of more than $10 million. And whether you're a fan or just someone looking to learn what e-sports are all about, there are plenty of ways to watch — and it's completely free. The event is being streamed at Dota2.com, and it all starts with the first day of playoffs today. There's a standard live broadcast complete with commentary and analysis, but also a new "spoiler-free DVR" stream that lets you catch the matches at your own pace, in case you aren't able to check it out in real-time.Read Article >
For Dota 2 junkies who need to watch every moment, there's also the international multicast, which lets you stream four games at once, perfect during the busy early rounds. According to Valve, the multicast will combine "all the interesting games, unexpected picks, big team fights, catastrophic misses and clutch plays into one package, complete with commentary and desk analysis." Finally, for those who have a tough time getting past the jargon-heavy commentary in the regular streams, the tournament is introducing a newcomers stream, which is aimed at easing potential new fans into the experience.
Jun 27, 2014
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.Read Article >
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.
May 20, 2014
This July, Valve will kick off The International, its annual championship for wildly popular free-to-play competitive game Dota 2. The action will likely be as intense as ever, but this year there's much more at stake thanks a staggering pool of more than $6 million. That's more than double last year's event, which featured a prize pool of $2.8 million, $1.4 million of which went to the winning team. If this year's competition includes the same cash distribution, the winners are in for quite the payout.Read Article >
What's particularly interesting is the way developer Valve managed to raise such a large sum. Fans are able to buy a virtual book called The Compendium, which offers different ways to interact with the upcoming tournament, as well as keep up to date with everything that's going on. "It's the next-best thing to being there," the company says. Each book costs $9.99, $2.50 of which goes towards the prize pool. Valve also offered a number of stretch goals to encourage more purchases, including additions like better music and emoticons for in-game chat. Passing the $6 million mark means players now have the option to customize their in-game bases. Some of the prize money comes from Valve itself, but more than $4 million (and counting) comes directly from fans purchasing these books.