Last year’s event ended up with a prize pool of nearly $11m in total, which made it a richer event than most real-world sporting events including the Superbowl ($8.5m), World Series of Poker ($8.9m) and US Open golf (US$9m). From the looks of things, it’s only soccer (sorry, football) championships that boast a larger wallet.
The $15,000,000 mark also unlocks the event’s final two stretch goals – the Special Axe Immortal and the Longform Comic, so even if you aren’t competing, you still get a sort of prize for your efforts.
The International prize pool is an interesting one – it’s pieced together by the community, rather than an overarching benefactor. Dota 2 fans are invited to grab a copy of The International Compendium for US$10. A portion of that price (US$2.50) is then donated to the prize pool, which started at less than $1.5m.
In exchange for handing over real-world cash, gamers are rewarded with (obviously) a copy of the book itself (which contains information about the event, competitors and the game), but each additional stretch goal unlocks further freebies – in-game coins, cursors, loading screens, emoticons, taunts, treasures, terrains, music, announcers, weather effects and the aforementioned Immortal / comic pack.