xValve’s free-to-play DotA 2 has proven to be a formidable leader in the eSports world, as indicated by a huge multi-million dollar tournament last year, with another one set to take place for 2015. So how is the development team at Valve hoping to offer an even bigger prize pool than before Well, that’s easy – just turn to the community.
VentureBeat has reported that the developer has launched a new in-game package called The Compendium, which is available in two different price tiers — $10 and $27. Those who purchase this package not only get access to in-game goods, but also donate 25 percent of its purchase towards the prize pool for the forthcoming tournament.
It’s a business model that makes sense, seeing as how last year’s similar Compendium package managed to raise nearly $11 million in funds for The International 2014 tournament. So far, this year’s package has raised nearly $2 million, although more is likely to be raised in the months ahead as new unlockable items are added at higher price tiers.
eSports-related communities are more than happy to raise funds while scoring loot for themselves, although not all companies are looking for that sort of model. Riot Games, whose game League of Legends is much bigger than DotA 2, believes that players and fans shouldn’t contribute to a prize pool, as the company makes more than enough money to generate prizes itself. Riot provides the entirety of the prize money for its competitions, though the prize is smaller than DotA 2’s crowdfunded prize.
Regardless of how money is raised, DotA 2 should have another powerful year in the tournament front, with The International 2015 likely to sell out once again, between live attendees and those who wish to stream the tournament online. eSports games have generated a whopping $194 million in revenue this past year, and this year’s tournaments – between both The International and whatever Riot Games has planned for League – should easily eclipse that number. Research firm Newzoo believes that these games could generate $465 million by 2017 – that’s over double the money in a short time frame.
Let’s not forget the exposure of eSports games on other mediums as well. ESPN 2 recently got a huge viewership boost from airing the Heroes of the Dorm competition this past Sunday. And that’s not likely to be the last we see of eSports on the channel, given the popular response.