The International (Dota 2)

Last updated

The International
The international.png
Tournament information
Sport Dota 2
Month playedAugust
Established2011
Number of
tournaments
9
Administrator(s) Valve Corporation
Tournament
format(s)
Venue(s)Varies
Participants
  • 16 teams (2011–2016)
  • 18 teams (2017–present)
Website dota2.com/international
Current champion
OG

The International is an annual esports world championship tournament for the video game Dota 2 , hosted and produced by the game's developer, Valve Corporation. The International was first held at Gamescom as a promotional event for the game in 2011, and has since been held annually. The tournament consists of 18 teams; 12 earning a direct invite based on results from a tournament series known as the Dota Pro Circuit and six from winning regional qualifying playoff brackets, one each from North America, South America, Southeast Asia, China, Europe, and CIS regions. The most recent champion is OG, who are also the only team to win an International more than once.

Esports form of competition that is facilitated by electronic systems, particularly video games

Esports is a form of competition using video games. Esports often takes the form of organized, multiplayer video game competitions, particularly between professional players, individually or as teams. Although organized online and offline competitions have long been a part of video game culture, these were largely between amateurs until the late 2000s, when participation by professional gamers and spectatorship in these events through live streaming saw a large surge in popularity. By the 2010s, esports was a significant factor in the video game industry, with many game developers actively designing toward a professional esports subculture.

A world championship is generally an international competition open to elite competitors from around the world, representing their nations, and winning such an event will be considered the highest or near highest achievement in the sport, game, or ability.

Dota 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game developed and published by Valve Corporation. The game is a sequel to Defense of the Ancients (DotA), which was a community-created mod for Blizzard Entertainment's Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its expansion pack, The Frozen Throne. Dota 2 is played in matches between two teams of five players, with each team occupying and defending their own separate base on the map. Each of the ten players independently controls a powerful character, known as a "hero", who all have unique abilities and differing styles of play. During a match, players collect experience points and items for their heroes to successfully defeat the opposing team's heroes in player versus player combat. A team wins by being the first to destroy the other team's "Ancient", a large structure located within their base.

Contents

Since 2013, the tournament's prize pool has been crowdfunded via a battle pass system within the game, with 25% of all revenue made from it adding directly to the prize pool. Internationals have the largest single-tournament prize pool of any esport event, with each iteration continually surpassing the previous year's, with the most recent one having one over US$34 million. Winners of the tournament receive the Aegis of Champions trophy, with their names engraved on the back.

Battle pass type of video game monetization

In the video game industry, a battle pass is a type of monetization approach that provides additional content for a game usually through a tiered system, rewarding the player with in-game items by playing the game and completing specific challenges. Inspired by the season pass ticketing system and originating with Dota 2 in 2013, the battle pass model gained more use as an alternative to subscription fees and loot boxes beginning in the late 2010s.

Champions

YearChampionPrize poolDateVenue
2011 Flag of Ukraine.svg Natus Vincere [1] $1,600,000August 17–21 Koelnmesse, Cologne [2]
2012 Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Invictus Gaming [3] August 31 – September 2 Benaroya Hall, Seattle [4]
2013 Flag of Sweden.svg Alliance [5] $2,874,380August 7–11
2014 Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Newbee [6] $10,923,977July 18–21 KeyArena, Seattle [7]
2015 Flag of the United States.svg Evil Geniuses [8] $18,429,613August 3–6
2016 Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Wings Gaming [9] $20,770,460August 3–13
2017 Flag of Europe.svg Team Liquid [10] $24,787,916August 7–12
2018 Flag of Europe.svg OG [11] $25,532,177August 20–25 Rogers Arena, Vancouver [12]
2019 Flag of Europe.svg OG [13] $34,330,068August 20–25 Mercedes-Benz Arena, Shanghai [14]
2020
TBD
Ericsson Globe, Stockholm [15]

History

Early years

The first International was held at Gamescom in 2011 The International Dota 2 video game tournament.jpg
The first International was held at Gamescom in 2011

Valve Corporation announced the first edition of The International on August 1, 2011. 16 teams were invited to compete in the tournament, which would also serve as the first public viewing of Dota 2 . [16] The tournament was funded by Valve, including the US$1 million USD grand prize, with Nvidia supplying the hardware. [17] [18] It took place at Gamescom in Cologne from August 17–21 the same year. [2] The tournament started with a group stage in which the winners of each of the four groups were entered into a winner's bracket, and the other teams entered the loser's bracket. The rest of the tournament was then played as a double-elimination tournament. [19] The final of this first tournament was between Ukrainian-based Natus Vincere and Chinese-based EHOME, with Natus Vincere winning the series 3-1. [20] EHOME won US$250,000, with the rest of the 14 teams splitting the remaining $350,000. [21]

Valve Corporation American technology company

Valve Corporation is an American video game developer, publisher and digital distribution company headquartered in Bellevue, Washington. It is the developer of the software distribution platform Steam and the Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Portal, Day of Defeat, Team Fortress, Left 4 Dead, and Dota 2 games.

Nvidia American global technology company

Nvidia Corporation, more commonly referred to as Nvidia, is an American technology company incorporated in Delaware and based in Santa Clara, California. It designs graphics processing units (GPUs) for the gaming and professional markets, as well as system on a chip units (SoCs) for the mobile computing and automotive market. Its primary GPU product line, labeled "GeForce", is in direct competition with Advanced Micro Devices' (AMD) "Radeon" products. Nvidia expanded its presence in the gaming industry with its handheld Shield Portable, Shield Tablet and Shield Android TV.

Gamescom trade fair for video games

Gamescom is a trade fair for video games held annually at the Koelnmesse in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Since 2018, it has been organised by game – Verband der deutschen Games-Branche ; and before that, by the Bundesverband Interaktive Unterhaltungssoftware (BIU). It supersedes Games Convention, held in Leipzig, Saxony, Germany. Gamescom is used by many video game developers to exhibit upcoming games and game-related hardware.

The International as an recurring annual event was confirmed in May 2012. [22] [23] The International 2012 was held at the 2,500 seat Benaroya Hall in Seattle from August 31 to September 2, with teams situated in glass booths on the main stage. [24] The total prize pool remained $1.6 million, with $1 million for the winning team. [25] [26] The previous winners, Natus Vincere, were beaten 3-1 by Chinese team Invictus Gaming in the grand finals. [27] In November 2012, Valve released a free documentary on the event that featured interviews with the teams, and following them from the preliminary stages through to the finale. [28]

Benaroya Hall concert hall in Seattle, Washington, United States

Benaroya Hall is the home of the Seattle Symphony in Downtown Seattle, Washington, United States. It features two auditoria, the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium, a 2500-seat performance venue, as well as the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall, which seats 536. Opened in September 1998 at a cost of $120 million, Benaroya quickly became noted for its technology-infused acoustics, touches of luxury and prominent location in a complex thoroughly integrated into the downtown area. Benaroya occupies an entire city block in the center of the city and has helped double the Seattle Symphony's budget and number of performances. The lobby of the hall features a large contribution of glass art, such as one given the title Crystal Cascade, by world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly.

Seattle City in Washington, United States

Seattle is a seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the seat of King County, Washington. With an estimated 744,955 residents as of 2018, Seattle is the largest city in both the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region of North America. According to U.S. Census data released in 2018, the Seattle metropolitan area's population stands at 3.94 million, and ranks as the 15th largest in the United States. In July 2013, it was the fastest-growing major city in the United States and remained in the top 5 in May 2015 with an annual growth rate of 2.1%. In July 2016, Seattle was again the fastest-growing major U.S. city, with a 3.1% annual growth rate. Seattle is the northernmost large city in the United States.

Invictus Gaming Chinese multi-game esports organization

Invictus Gaming is a Chinese multi-game esports organization founded in 2011 by businessman Wang Sicong. They are primarily known for their Dota 2, League of Legends, and StarCraft II teams. IG's Dota team won The International 2012, and its League of Legends team won the 2018 World Championship.

Crowdfunding

The International 2014 The International 2014.jpg
The International 2014

The International 2013 was hosted again at the Benaroya Hall in Seattle from August 7 to 11. Sixteen teams participated, thirteen of which received direct invitations, and the final three being decided in two qualifying tournaments and a match at the start of the tournament. [29] In May 2013, it was announced that an in-game battle pass, known as the Compendium, would be available for purchase that allowed for the tournament's prize pool to be crowdfunded. A quarter of all revenue from it was added to the base $1.6 million prize pool. [30] The prize pool eventually reached over $2.8 million, making it the largest prize pool in esports history at the time. [31] KCPQ news anchor Kaci Aitchison acted as a host at the event, proviing behind-the-scenes commentary and player interviews. [32] The International 2013 was viewed by over a million concurrent viewers at its peak, via live streaming websites such as Twitch.tv. [33]

KCPQ Fox affiliate in Tacoma, Washington

KCPQ, virtual and VHF digital channel 13, is a Fox-affiliated television station serving Seattle, Washington, United States that is licensed to Tacoma. The station is owned by the Nexstar Media Group, as part of a duopoly with Seattle-licensed MyNetworkTV affiliate KZJO. The two stations share studios on Westlake Avenue in Seattle's Westlake neighborhood; KCPQ's transmitter is located on Gold Mountain in Bremerton.

Twitch.tv Live streaming video platform

Twitch is a live streaming video platform owned by Twitch Interactive, a subsidiary of Amazon. Introduced in June 2011 as a spin-off of the general-interest streaming platform, Justin.tv, the site primarily focuses on video game live streaming, including broadcasts of eSports competitions, in addition to music broadcasts, creative content, and more recently, "in real life" streams. Content on the site can be viewed either live or via video on demand.

The International 2014 took place from July 18–21 at the KeyArena in Seattle. [34] For the event, eleven teams would receive direct invites, with an additional four spots determined by regional qualifiers taking place between May 12–25. The sixteenth spot would be determined by a wild card qualifier between the runners-up from the regional competitions. [35] The tickets for the event were sold out within an hour of going on sale that April. [36] The tournament's crowdfunded prize pool again broke esport records for being the largest in history, with it totaling over $10.9 million. [37] As a result, eight Dota 2 players became the highest earning players in esports, surpassing the top earning player at the time, Lee "Jaedong" Jae-dong of StarCraft . [38] The event was also broadcast on ESPN networks for the first time. [39]

The International 2014

The International 2014 (TI4) was the fourth edition of The International, an annual esports Dota 2 championship tournament, which took place at the KeyArena in Seattle. Hosted by Valve Corporation, the tournament began on July 8 with the Playoffs phase and closed on July 21 with the Grand Final. The 2014 edition of The International featured nineteen Dota 2 professional gaming teams that competed for a Grand Prize of over US$5.0 million. Overall, US$10.93 million were awarded at the event, making it the largest esports event by prize money until it was topped by the next International.

KeyArena Sports arena in Seattle, Washington, United States

The Seattle Center Arena, known colloquially as KeyArena after a previous naming rights sponsorship, is a temporarily-defunct multi-purpose arena in Seattle, Washington that is currently under redevelopment. It is located north of downtown in the 74-acre (30 ha) entertainment complex known as Seattle Center, the site of the 1962 World's Fair, the Century 21 Exposition. It was used for entertainment purposes, such as concerts, ice shows, circuses, and sporting events. The redeveloped arena, currently estimated to cost $900 to $930 million, is anticipated to open in June 2021.

StarCraft is a military science fiction media franchise created by Chris Metzen and James Phinney and owned by Blizzard Entertainment. The series, set in the beginning of the 26th century, centers on a galactic struggle for dominance among four species—the adaptable and mobile Terrans, the ever-evolving insectoid Zerg, the powerfully enigmatic Protoss, and the "god-like" Xel'Naga creator race—in a distant part of the Milky Way galaxy known as the Koprulu Sector. The series debuted with the video game StarCraft in 1998. It has grown to include a number of other games as well as eight novelizations, two Amazing Stories articles, a board game, and other licensed merchandise such as collectible statues and toys.

The tournament was expanded to 18 teams for The International 2017 onwards, an increase from the previous 16. [40]

Format

Invitations

The International features a series of tournaments before the event, known as the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC), with the top 12 ranking teams receiving direct invitations based on their final standings. [41] [42] [43] Besides the directly invited DPC teams, an additional team from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), China, Europe, North America, South America, and Southeast Asia regions each earn an invite by winning regional playoffs, bringing the total number of participating teams up to 18. [44] [45] At the International, two separate best-of-two round robin groups consisting of nine teams each are played, with lowest placed team from both at the end of the stage being eliminated. [46] [47] [40] The remaining 16 teams then move on to the double elimination main event at the hosted venue, with the top four finishing teams from both groups advancing to the upper bracket, and the bottom four advancing to the lower bracket. [47] [46] The first round of the lower bracket is treated as single-elimination, with the loser of each match being immediately eliminated from the tournament. [46] [40] Every other round of both brackets is played in a best-of-three series, with the exception being the Grand Finals, which is played between the winners of the upper and lower brackets in a best-of-five series. [46]

Prize pool

Starting with The International 2013 onward, the tournament's prize pool began to be crowdfunded through a type of in-game battle pass called the "Compendium", which raises money from players buying them to get exclusive in-game virtual goods and other bonuses. [48] [49] 25% of all the revenue made from yearly Compendiums go directly to the prize pool. [50] [51] Each iteration of The International has surpassed the previous one's prize pool, with the most recent one, The International 2019, having one at over $34 million. [52] [53] [54] [55]

Trophy

The Aegis of Champions trophy In Valve office (12030311993).jpg
The Aegis of Champions trophy

The Aegis of Champions is a trophy that is awarded to the champions of an International. The reverse side of it is permanently engraved with the names of each player on the winning team. [56] [57] [58] The Aegis is a shield inspired by Norse and Chinese designs, with it molded in bronze and silver by the prop studio, Weta Workshop. [56] Miniature replicas of it are also sometimes awarded to compendium owners for having a high enough level in it. [59]

Media coverage

The International 2018 (30302304258).jpg
The International 2018 (30302303908).jpg
As with traditional sporting events, The International feature pre- and post-game discussion by a panel of analysts (left), with in-match casting being done by play-by-play and color commentators (right).

The primary medium for International coverage is through the video game live streaming platform Twitch.tv, which is done by a selection of dedicated esports organizations and personnel who provide on-site commentary, analysis, match predictions, and player interviews surrounding the event in progress, similar to traditional sporting events. [33] [60] Multiple streams are provided in a variety of languages, mainly in English, Russian, and Chinese. The International also sometimes provides a "newcomer stream" that is dedicated to casting and presenting games for viewers who are unfamiliar with the game and its rules. [61]

Documentaries

In 2014, Valve Corporation released a free documentary, Free to Play , which followed three players during their time at the first International in 2011. [62] [63] In 2016, Valve began producing an episodic-based documentary series titled True Sight, considered a spiritual successor to Free to Play. [64] Two episodes of it have been filmed during an International, respectively showing Team Liquid and OG's winning runs at The International 2017 and 2018. [65] [66]

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