Even though I’m much more of an avid League of Legends player, I always pay attention to the latest Dota 2 developments particularly with all things money-related. Despite League’s massive popularity, it seems to me that Valve does a significantly much better job managing their premier international tournament’s prize pot. This year, the amount of money that Valve is putting in themselves for the International 2018 is $1,600,000 USD and 25% of the revenue earned from their Battle Pass sales also goes into the prize pool. The latest Battle Pass went on sale about 12 days ago and the proceeds earned has already shot the prize pool up past $10,000,000 USD. That’s the fastest the International has reached a $10,000,000 prize pool.
Check out this graph from the Dota 2 Prize Tracker that provides an up-to-date breakdown of each year’s tournament prize pool.
As you can see, this year hit $10 million at day 12 while it took 15 days to do so last year. Another thing worth noting is that the prize pot for the International 2015 reached nearly $20 million and each year it has been steadily increasing.
Now let’s take a look at League of Legends and Riot Games. Back in 2015, the Season 5 World Championship prize pool looked to be about less than $2 million USD for the top four teams. That’s an enormous difference compared with what Valve was offering at the same year. Here’s the breakdown from the Wikipedia page
Riot seems to be getting a bit more generous since they modified a move out of Valve’s playbook and started to shift 25% of the revenue earned from select skins towards tournament prize pools. Even considering this, the numbers have been rocky. Teams making it into the top 4 in season 6 actually won more money than the top 4 teams in season 7. In season 6, the 1st place team won $2,680,000 and then in season 7, that number dropped to $1,540,000. That’s a very sizeable drop.
From the most recent MSI tournament, just take a look at the Riot contribution and fan contribution breakdown.
Just looking at these numbers makes me think either Riot Games is being a bit stingy with their direct contribution or with their calculation of earnings from the sale of skins. Again, I’m a League player, but I have to give respect where respect is due. Valve is light years ahead of Riot Games with both how they monetize the game and how they in turn give back their earnings to pro players. Riot Games, please step it up.
Featured Image Credits: Dota 2 Battle Pass