Valve’s DotA 2 International 2017 world championships will have the largest prize pool of any esports contest in history, thanks to the popularity of its Battle Pass Compendium. Beating out previous years with many days of funding still to go before the August 7-12 event in Seattle, the prize pool is edging toward $21 million.
Even though DotA 2 may not have the player numbers of a game like League of Legends, it has captured headlines and hearts year after year partly because of its enormous monetary rewards for the best players in the world. 2017 looks to be no different, with more money up for grabs than ever before. At the time of writing, it has just crested $20.8 million and shows no signs of slowing.
To help fund its annual world championship pro-gaming event, Valve once again launched its Battle Pass Compendium in 2017, letting DotA 2 gamers pitch in a few dollars to unlock all sorts of in-game rewards. As they leveled up through the Compendium’s ranks, they earned even more in-game skins, audio upgrades and even a cooperative campaign mode. For those who reached the heady heights of level-1000, there’s also a physical Aegis shield, a 1/5th scale replica of the 2017 trophy.
Whatever level they reach, though, for every dollar fans spent buying Battle Passes and extra levels for it, 25 cents went to the prize pool.
That’s what’s helped it reach the monumental heights it has today, though it’s worth bearing in mind that the other 75 cents went into Valve’s pocket. Taking away the money it had to spend on building all of the unique Battle Pass content, it’s pocketed more than $60 million just from the build up to this event, let alone what it will pull in from ticket sales at the venue and from advertising and other sponsorships.
Still, there’s more than 30 days to go, and with records already broken, fans and Valve may push to see the prize pool rise to unprecedented heights. Even if there are no more big content drops from Valve in the lead-up to the show on August 7, the steady trickle of funds into the Battle Pass will see it easily break $21 million. Whether it can break $22 million or beyond, remains to be seen.
If you aren’t that interested in who walks away with the majority share of that, consider raising a glass to the best raging fans in the business instead.