In an unexpected turn of events, Valve Corporation, the creator of Dota 2, has reportedly decided to alter the framework of its premier event, The International (TI). The shift is expected to not only reshape the traditional structure of the competition but also make a multi-million dollar impact on the tournament’s finances.
Historically, The International has employed a unique approach to its prize pool. Valve sets a base amount, and the broader Dota 2 community contributes by purchasing in-game items within a specific timeframe. This community engagement model is usually linked to the Battle Pass, an in-game purchase that offers multiple rewards and increases engagement. However, the decision to retire the Battle Pass means that Valve must devise a new strategy for TI’s prize pool augmentation.
Insights from a recent broadcast for the ongoing Bali Major reveal that Valve is likely planning to increase the base prize pool it initially contributes. This move is groundbreaking, marking the first such change in more than a decade. If the rumors hold true, the starting prize pool for the upcoming TI will be a staggering $3 million, a sum unprecedented in the history of the event. This figure nearly doubles the usual base amount of $1.6 million that Valve has traditionally invested, a figure that has remained unchanged since the inaugural TI in 2011.
Moreover, it is anticipated that there will be a revamp of the crowdfunding aspect in some capacity, potentially altering the way the community can contribute to the prize pool1. These changes have sparked a flurry of questions within the Dota 2 community, with fans keen to know the new content Valve intends to release for this TI and the ultimate size of the prize pool.
Valve has confirmed the release of a TI-themed bundle set to drop in September, just before the event, which is scheduled to run through October. While specifics about the bundle’s content remain under wraps, Valve has assured a focus on the event and players, with cosmetic items expected to play a lesser role.
These changes come in the backdrop of a potential second consecutive year of decline in TI’s grand prize, a trend that stands in stark contrast to a decade-long record of increasing prize pools. The emerging challenge from the $15 million Riyadh Masters, aiming to capture a share of the Dota Pro Circuit market, further fuels the speculation about TI’s future.
While the Dota 2 community awaits further developments, this multi-million dollar shift underscores Valve’s commitment to adapt and innovate in the ever-evolving landscape of esports.