The International 2018 Prize Pool Sets New Esports Record

The International 2018 prize pool, which was already pegged to beat out last year’s record-setting US$24,787,916 pot money right from the start, has already climbed past the previous record to set a new mark.

The International 2018 prize pool was already way over $5 million USD on its first day alone and it has continued to balloon since. As of today, August 20, TI8 already boasts a larger prize pool than that of last year.

To put this into perspective, the largest non-Dota 2 prize pool for an esports tournament belongs to the LoL Worlds 2016 and 2017, with $5,070,000 and $4,946,969 USD respectively. Added up, that’s $10,016,969 USD.

Even if it’s for the entire tournament, and will still be split among the participating teams, that’s already a lot of money. However, it still pales in comparison to how much Team Liquid, last year’s winners took home, as they earned themselves a huge paycheck set at $10,862,682 USD.

Mind you, this isn’t over just yet. We still have a couple of days to go before the crowdfunding ends. There’s still the newly introduced Trove Carafe 2018 that can help boost up the TI8 prize pool a couple of hundred thousand, if not a million before all is said and done.

Having said that we, can only expect the TI8 prize pool to continue growing until then.

Setting a New Record

The International 2018 Prize Pool

During the first 24 hours alone, The International 2018 prize pool had already shown signs that it was going to beat last year’s record-setting prize pool. (Wykrhm Reddy)

The prize pool for Dota 2’s biggest annual tournament, The International, has set records every year for having the largest prize pool in esports.

Much of the prize pool comes from crowdfunding. Valve only kicks things off by chipping in $1.6 million USD months before the start of the tournament.

This wasn’t always the case, though. In 2011 and 2012, Valve had yet to turn to crowdfunding to raise the prize pool. But, since then, Valve has introduced the compendium, and after 2016,  switched up their crowdfunding model. Valve ditched the TI compendiums they introduced in 2013 in favour of the TI battle pass. Although similar, the Battle Pass did away with the stretch rewards. Instead, it rewarded users immediately upon purchase. Each additional purchase of levels nets users even more rewards, usually in the form of Treasures, along with other exclusive content.

Similar to the compendium, however, 25% of the proceeds coming from each purchase still went directly to the tournament prize pool.

Valve has had a lot of success with their business model over the years. As mentioned earlier, The International 2018 prize pool already hit the $5 million USD mark in less than 24 hours. That’s nearly more than the prize pool of the first three TI’s combined.

With such a large prize pool, you can expect the sixteen Dota 2 teams playing at the TI8 main event to be raring to go and bring home a huge chunk of that sweet, sweet pot.

What’s Next for Valve?

The International 2018 Prize Pool

In all likelihood, Valve will have to resort to releasing a second weekend bundle for next year’s prize pool to set a new record. (Valve)

Everyone knew that this was coming. It was just a matter of when. After all, Valve had done everything to make sure that the prize pool kept growing and growing. This included introducing a second set of the TI8 collector’s cache for the first time ever late into the season.

But while it’s great that The International 2018 prize pool is going to set a new record, one can’t help but wonder if it’s going to be good for the scene overall.

It’s no secret that Valve has not exactly kept production values up in recent years. Many argue that TI6 was the pinnacle of TIs, although TI7 experienced a bigger jump in prize pool — TI7 had a $24,686,919 USD prize pool, up from last year’s $20,770,640 — which suggests that people may have been looking back at it with rose-tinted glasses.

Either way, with Valve being as reactive as a company can be, and given the declining player base of Dota 2, it’s certainly a fair point to raise if Dota 2 would’ve been better off had the TI8 prize pool not set a new record.

For sure, Valve would’ve been forced to look at their mistakes, and do better next year. But, then again, that might still happen.

Keep in mind that Valve had been slightly extending the crowdfunding period every year, and with only a slight margin separating the new esports prize pool record from the old one set last year, you’d best bet that Valve has taken notice.

Final Thoughts

Just like last year, 18 Dota 2 teams from around the globe converged this year to fight for the Aegis of Champions. Although, unlike in previous years, the stage would not be the KeyArena in Seattle, as Valve had been forced to move the venue to the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada. Also changed was the competitive scene with the introduction of the Dota Pro Circuit.

Basically, a year-long slate of tournaments leading up to TI, the debut of the Dota Pro Circuit was largely a success, despite the hiccups, as it helped bring up the level of competition and introduce parity into the competitive scene.

Valve plans to build on what they have learned from this past season, with plans for next season already laid out a few months ago.

Either way, only 16 teams remain in play for TI8 now that the group stage is already over. This includes last year’s winning team, Team Liquid, who are one of the heavy favourites to win it all. Also still in the tournament are last year’s runner-up, Newbee, who, unfortunately, will start the main event on the brink of elimination and playing in the lower brackets.

The action starts once again in the main event of The International 2018 on August 20 and will end on August 25.

Click here for our preview for the TI8 main event.

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