The prize pool for Valve‘s Dota 2 tournament The International is tipped to pass the US$10 million point today. This makes the event richer than many real-world sports tournaments, including the U.S. Open golf, which hands out a mere US$9 million.
So. Where does all that money come from? Crowdfunding, mostly. Gamers have been snapping up copies of the interactive virtual sportsbook The Compendium for US$10 since it went on sale. Each copy adds an additional US$2.50 to the prize pool, which started out at US$1.6 million.
In return, Compendium owners are granted new features for every prize pool milestone reached. These include special in-game chat emoticons, new environmental effects, additional taunts, and an invitation to the event’s (virtual) after party.
There’s also the ability to buy Compendium points – 25% of those takings go straight to the prize pool as well. It’s a way for Valve to redirect gamers’ passion for the game back towards the players themselves.
This year’s International kicks off in a few weeks, from July 18-21 in Seattle’s KeyArena. Sixteen teams are competing for their share of the money – with the winner taking home the lion’s share and the rest divided into progressively smaller allotments.