Do you remember the arcade game Smash TV from the 1990s? Do you remember how the announcer in that game kept telling us about how "big money" and "big prizes" were up for grabs? As it turns out, you don't have to risk life and limb in a battle arena surrounded by sadistic adversaries to unlock said money and prizes. The International 6, scheduled to take place in a couple weeks in Seattle, is the biggest DOTA 2 tournament. And now it's broken its own record for the biggest prize pool ever.
In last year's tournament, the total prize pool was an amazing $18,429,613. As of this writing, the prize pool for The International 6 is pegged at $18,679,270 and that number can continue to grow between now and game day.
To put that into perspective, the recent Evolution 2016 ("Evo") fighting game tournament in Las Vegas offered a much smaller prize pool. Despite getting some prime time on ESPN2 and being hosted at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, the total pool for Street Fighter V was barely over $100,000 with $50,642 going to winner "Infilitration" Lee Seon-woo of South Korea. There were other games, of course, but SFV was the main event.
One of the biggest differences with The International 6 and DOTA 2 has to do not only with the bigger appeal of the game, but also with the crowdfunding approach that Valve has taken. Valve "only" put forth $1.6 million to get the ball rolling, but the rest has come from players of the game who purchase in-game items to fund this prize pool.
Who said playing video games is a waste of time? If you're in it to win it, DOTA 2 look like the way to go. The International 6 now rocks the biggest prize pool of any e-sports tournament ever. Do you think it'll break $20 million?