Is Dota 2 an Esport?

by Phirex

Dota 2 is one of the biggest esports in the world and has given away more prize money than any other esport in history. The top players dominate the list of the highest-earning esports stars ever, and the top competitions bring in millions of viewers.

Dota 2 is a sequel to the original Defense of the Ancients mod for Warcraft III, and initially launched into closed beta in 2011. Ever since day one the game has been one of the biggest esports in the world, with Valve hosting The International at the Gamescom trade show in 2011.

Warcraft III: Reforged
The concept of Dota 2 was birthed from a mod from Blizzard title Warcraft III – Credit: Blizzard Entertainment

The tournament was the first time we got to see professional Dota 2 in action and featured a $1.6 million prize pool, the biggest in esports history at the time.

Today Dota 2 is still a massive esport, with the Dota Pro Circuit featuring several large events throughout the year that give teams a chance to qualify for The International, the annual world championship that every year has featured the largest prize pool in esports history.

In 2019 The International 9 had a prize pool of $34,330,068, with winners OG taking home $15,620,181 to split between the five players on the team. OG also won The International 8 meaning all five players are multi-millionaires.

The Dota 2 scene is quite top-heavy, with the top teams earning millions but any teams outside the top 20 often struggling to survive for long periods.

Despite this in 2019, 124 events gave away a total of $51,499,515.34, which is more prize money than StarCraft 2 (one of the oldest existing esports) has given away in its entire lifetime.

Dota 2 is very popular all across the world, especially in China and South East Asia, meaning the top level of Dota competition features players from every corner of the earth, and is an international affair (pun intended.)

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