While it may be a very old stereotype, gamers being listless and never amounting to anything through their choice of entertainment is one that still exists. The eSports circuit has been slowly changing that, but recognition of it competitions and players still is nowhere near mainstream. That might change with the latest announcement from Valve, the makers of DOTA 2. In the lead up to the International 2014 DOTA 2 championships, Valve has been crowd-sourcing the prize pool that the top players will take home. How big is the prize pool now? Just over $10,000,000 USD. That's a number in the range of prizes earned by top athletes in some mainstream sports. So how did they achieve this?
On the home page for The International 2014 DOTA 2 championships, players can purchase Compendiums which contain in-game items that unlock as the pool increases in amount. The setup is similar to a Kickstarter campaign, with stretch goals and rewards for meeting certain targets. Each Compendium costs $9.99 initially, with 25% of the money going towards the prize pool. You then collect additional points to level up your Compendium and increase the rewards you may receive, and can also buy points in chunks.
This is actually a great idea on Valve's part, as it raises awareness of its game and eSports in general while also raking in a lot of money for the Seattle based company. Speaking of the Emerald City, we should note that The International 2014 will take place July 18-21 in Seattle at the Key Arena, in front of a potential audience of 17,000.