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Majors in DotA 2
In E-Sports at the moment, DotA 2 contains some of the largest majors in terms of their prize pool. The most recent one, The Shanghai Major 2016, boasted a $3 million dollar prize pool with Team Secret taking the first place share of $1 million dollars. The company running DotA 2 and these majors, Valve, has promised fans a total of 4 annual tournaments, one for each season, featuring a similar prize pool for each one. This encourages more people to get involved with E-Sports and even players to try harder as the money is there to support the game.
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Comparison with other games and tournaments
Interestingly enough, DotA 2 is not the most popular game on Twitch. It is not even the second most watched game. Both League of Legends and CS:GO have more viewers than DotA 2, with League of Legends having more viewers than both games combined. However, DotA 2’s majors still have more money than either game. The total prize pool per year for all of DotA 2’s majors total about $12 million dollars, not including some of the other tournaments.
League of Legends has one world championship each year, the equivalent of a major, and the previous one contained a prize pool of $2 million, a far cry from DotA’s. League of Legends is the game always compared to DotA because of the similar style of gameplay that both games provide. The popularity of League clearly surpasses DotA’s at the moment, but the world championship prize pool does not show it. Still, with the increased popularity of League of Legends, its prize pool will very likely grow for the next world championship. League does have another way for their players to make money. The players from the winning team of the Season 4 World Championships, Samsung Galaxy White, and their sister team, Samsung Galaxy Blue, were offered ludicrous salaries and signing fees totaling 6 figures or more (Source: Daily Dot).
The other comparable E-Sport game to DotA 2 would be Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, or CS:GO. Valve is the developer behind both games and sets the money for both games’ major prize pools. CS:GO has a total of 3 majors a year with a prize pool of $1 million dollars. Again, the statistics show that CS:GO is a more popular game in regards to viewership at the moment as compared to DotA 2, but despite being run by the same company, DotA 2 is given 4 times the amount of money for major tournaments as CS:GO. However, CS:GO has seen improvement in their major tournaments with Valve just raising the prize pool from $250,000 to the $1 million for the current majors. Also, CS:GO has several smaller tournaments with relatively large prize pools such as the recently created ELEAGUE which has a $1.2 million total prize pool. So comparing CS:GO vs DotA 2 majors directly might not be completely accurate at first glance because of the numerous smaller tournaments in CS:GO that total a hefty amount of prize money.
Many analysts and supporters of League of Legends and CS:GO point to DotA 2’s majors and ask why their games do not have a similar or larger prize pool. Perhaps in the future, this will change as there have been changes and increases in the major prize pools of all 3 games already. League and CS:GO have different aspects in the community that balances out the difference between the tournament money such as streaming and salaries which still does not necessarily promote viewership as compared to larger tournaments. The future will most likely result in an increase in all of the major tournaments’ prize pools, but it remains to be seen whether or not DotA 2 will continue to top the charts for prize money with their tournaments.