With The International having solidified its place as the richest and most prestigious tournament in esports, one thing has become clear: If you’re looking to make money in competitive gaming, Dota 2 is the game to pursue.
The first two editions of The International, held in 2011 and 2012, each boasted prize pools of $1.6 million. Last year’s tournament bumped the pool up to $2.8 million, but each of those pales in comparison to the money offered at The International 4.
The nearly $11 million put up for grabs at the event was more than the richest prize offerings available in such major sports as golf and tennis. If the tournament’s champions, Newbee, were to evenly split the amount they won, each of their five players would still take home over $1 million. They would have become millionaires the moment they raised the trophy.
Other teams also did well for themselves. Vici Gaming’s reward for finishing as the runners-up was $1.5 millionm a prize that nearly equaled the total amounts available in the first two editions of the prestigious tournament. And third-place team Evil Geniuses pocketed more money for their finish than the winners of those two prior events.
This sort of money is unprecedented in esports, and has rocketed those who received it up the list of all-time top earners in esports competitions.
The five highest earners in esports are now the five players who competed for Newbee during their championship run this past weekend. They are immediately followed by three players from Natus Vincere, another Dota 2 team who finished tied for seventh at this year’s competition after having made the final in each of the three years prior.
And it doesn’t stop with the top eight: 34 of the top 50 earners are now Dota 2 players from countries like China, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United States.
It speaks volumes that, for all of their success, legendary names from other games have been surpassed so quickly by Dota 2’s elite.
Prolific first-person shooter players such as Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel and Patrik “f0rest” Lindberg pale in comparison to their peers from Dota 2. Even the most successful players in StarCraft’s history, for all of its prominence in Korea, can’t compare. Legends like Lee Jae Dong and Lee “Flash” Young Ho have already been surpassed by players such as Newbee’s Jiao “Banana” Wang and Natus Vincere’s Danil “Dendi” Ishutin.
And given the success of this year’s International tournament, don’t be surprised if the prizes waiting to be won are even bigger next year.