The International Dota 2, known for its high prizes in the esports world, faces an unprecedented situation. Although the tournament has boasted the seven largest prizes in esports history, this year presents a considerably lower figure compared to previous editions, and the landscape doesn’t seem to be improving.
Changes in the funding system
Earlier in the year, Valve, the company behind the tournament, announced the elimination of the traditional Battle Pass, a tool used to fund the TI prize through crowdfunding. In its place, a new system geared towards the professional scene was introduced: The Compendium. However, this new proposal has been met with mixed reviews, as it does not seem to offer equivalent value for its cost. Even though 25% of The Compendium’s sales go towards the TI12 prize, sales figures have been below expectations.
Numbers that speak for themselves
After a day and a half of crowdfunding, the prize for The International 12 stands at $2,462,425. Although the initial prize was $1.6 million, only $862,425 from The Compendium sales has been added.
Comparing with previous years since 2015, the increase is significantly lower. In 2015, the prize was already at $4.1 million, a figure that far exceeds the 2023 edition. Even in 2022, despite not surpassing the previous year’s prize, it already had $7.5 million at this same period.
An uncertain future for professional Dota 2
Another concerning factor is that this year’s crowdfunding period appears to be significantly shorter than in previous editions. Typically, funding ends with the end of the tournament, a date that is only a month away. In past years, fundraising extended over several months, offering players more content and purchasing opportunities.
All signs indicate that the prize for The International 12 will be significantly lower than in other years. With Valve ending the Dota Pro Circuit, the landscape for professional Dota 2 is uncertain. Although third-party circuits are known to return in 2024, if the TI prize continues to decline year after year, we may be witnessing the decline of professional Dota as we know it.
It is vital for both organizers and the community to reflect on the future of the game and consider strategies to revive interest and keep the competitive spirit of Dota 2 alive.