Dota 2's International prize pool is well on its way to hitting Valve's $6 million stretch goal.
Dota 2's world championship event, The International was one of the most lucrative eSports tournaments in the world when it debuted at gamescom 2011 with a prize pool of $1.6 million.
Competitor League of Legends upped its own record-setting prize pools in response, but Valve hit on the clever idea of having players and fans partially crowdfund The International by passing on 25% of the cost of the Compendium. Now, the International has the largest pot of any single-game tournament eSports event.
Following on from the success of last year's scheme, this year's Compendium - a $10 virtual pass to the event packed with goodies - has sold even more quickly. When I checked on the progress of the prize pool earlier today, I saw it had passed $5 million this weekend. In the few hours since then it's already moved so far towards $6 million that I had to highlight it again.
At time of writing, sales of the Compendium had so far raised $5,771,615 for the prize pool. At $2.50 per purchase, that's $2,308,646 sales. That's right. Over 2.3 million people have coughed up $10 to watch a MOBA tournament through Valve's integrated Dota 2 client, and score a few cool bonuses for their own play.
Valve only set stretch goals up to $6 million, but at this rate it seems likely it's going to have to come up with a few more. It'd be really interesting to find out at what point the company will break even on the substantial costs of running, broadcasting and otherwise supporting the International. Do you think Valve expected this much interest right off the bat...?