Valve, the company that owns the popular game DOTA2, released the compendium for The International 4 DOTA 2 Championships on May 9th. Every year, Valve releases a compendium, an online book that has information about the tournament. The compendium comes with interactive portions that allow users to predict winners and other various stats as well as vote on certain upcoming features. It also shows player profiles – Each professional player in the tournament is featured on a trading card which fans can collect. However, this year Valve has really done its best compared to any other year in creating the compendium.
This year, Valve has decided to add a level up system to the compendium. Before this year, everyone who owned the compendium automatically gets all the bonuses which include highly sought-after in-game cosmetics, which change the way your character looks and add battle bonuses to help you gain more experience in the game. However, this year, players have to complete tasks to earn compendium levels which makes players want to play more and earn their prizes rather than buying them although there is still an option to buy compendium levels.
In the DOTA 2 store, compendiums sell for $9.99, and a small amount of this money from all purchases goes towards the prize pool for the winners of The International 4 tournament. This way, players will feel like they are paying for the support of their favorite professional teams. This year, when players buy levels on their compendium, 1/4 of all those purchases also go towards the prize pool. Valve always sets the base prize pool to be $1.6 million and increases the prize according to how many compendiums people buy. Although $2.50 per $9.99 compendium may not seem like a lot compared to the $1.6 million dollar prize pool, last year, the prize pool was increased by $1,274,381, making the total prize pool over $2.8 million USD! This means that just over 500,000 compendiums were sold over the course of 2 months. This only goes to show how much fans love to support their favorite teams and players.
When the prize pool is increased this year, the community will unlock stretch goals set by Valve. Every stretch goal will unlock something new whether it be a new game mode, more in-game cosmetics or items that can modify certain things in the game. Valve sets stretch goals for when the prize pool increases by a certain amount, between $200,000 to $500,000. The highest stretch goal as of May 20th is $6,000,000. These were just more incentives for players to buy the compendium.
When the compendium was released on May 9th to the DOTA 2 store, there was a lot of hype and talk about all the cool new features. Just 24 hours after its release, the prize pool already exceeded $2,900,000 surpassing last year’s prize pool, which took over 2 months to raise. This already made this tournament the biggest prize pool in e-sports history. On May 20th, only 12 days after its release, the prize pool surpassed $6,000,000 – the highest stretch goal. Valve had never thought the prize pool would increase this fast, otherwise it wouldn’t have been much of a “stretch”. This prompted Valve to create new stretch goals on that day making the top stretch goal an ultimate $10,000,000.
Currently, the prize pool sits just over $6.6 million which is almost three times as much as last year’s. This is great for the players competing but it is even better for Valve. This means that Valve has sold over 2 million compendiums, resulting in sales of over $20,000,000 for a 20-page online book. Valve may be offering a base prize pool of $1.6 million for this event but the amount of money they collected from the players is incredible. It is no wonder how Gabe Newell, CEO of Valve has a net worth of over $1.5 billion.
Although Newell is raking in the riches, players are going to do whatever it takes to win this enormous prize pool. The amount of money being offered to the players competing is comparable to that of other sports. For example, the 2013 Masters tournament for Golf offered a prize pool of $8,000,000 and the Indianapolis 500, the racing competition had a prize pool of $12,000,000. With the ever-increasing prize pool for The International 4, we might see DOTA 2 surpass the biggest tournaments for certain sports not to mention the fact that all 80 players and their coaches and managers receive all expenses paid trip to Seattle to compete in the tournament. Last year, the winners of The International 4 took home 50% of the prize pool, split among 5 players. Right now, if the current prize pool was the real prize pool, each player on the winning team will take home over $600,000 in cash for playing in a 4-day tournament in Seattle along with an all-expenses paid trip. $600,000 would be enough to buy a decent house from simply playing a video game. E-sports has expanded so much in the last few years and will continue to expand at faster rates. Perhaps, all that time you invested in playing video games have gone to waste after all.