Steven R. July 2, 2019
The International 2019 is officially set to be the largest event in Dota 2 history.
The prize pool has surpassed the $25,532,177 record set by The International 2018. As of this writing, the tally stands at $25,601,298. Perhaps even more impressively, there are still more than 50 days left for fans to add to inject cash and make The International the most lucrative event in esports once again.
To say this is a massive success for Valve would be an understatement.
Though The International’s gaudy prize pool has long been the envy of the esports world, the event’s growth has been slowing in recent years. While the $25,532,177 prize pool of TI8 was massive, it was only 3% higher than The International 2017’s $24,787,916. This was a sharp decline in percentage increase from previous years which consistently saw multi-million dollar leaps.
Additionally, The International threatened to have some of its thunder stolen by the Fortnite World Cup. Dota 2 has long stood as the most lucrative title in esports with its players dominating any list of winningest professional gamers. Epic Games has been looking to change that by investing $100 million into Fortnite’s esports scene.
The centerpiece of this effort is the $30 million prize pool for the Fortnite World Cup. This dwarfed any other esports event in history and was set to blow away the single-event record set by TI8.
That competition and market contraction undoubtedly worried Valve, which pockets 75% of all battle pass purchases. The Dota 2 publisher made a number of additions to this year’s installment, which have paid off in a big way.
All the typical TI battle pass options are present and accounted for, including a limited time special game mode, ranked roles matchmaking, and new chat wheel voice lines. New ways to interact with other players including seasonal consumable items and a matchmaking block list were also added. Perhaps most importantly, the battle pass offers unique cosmetics ranging from the Earthshaker arcana to the Axe Unleashed set.
The additions were not surprising, but the extra rewards were enough to get Dota 2 players to invest heavily. And with TI9 not kicking off until August 15, there is a strong chance that the event will be able to eclipse the prize pool of the Fortnite World Cup.