Everyone knows The International is Dota 2’s biggest tournament of the year. If we take a look at the previous versions of the event, we can see the prize pool previous iterations had was at another level. The International 10, for example, had a massive prize pool totaling more than $40M.
With that said, the recent decline in Dota 2’s popularity and Valve’s decision to change The International 12 Compendium haven’t had a positive effect. Which is why, just a few days before the beginning of TI 12, the prize pool is close to $3M USD. This may seem a lot to someone from outside Dota 2 esports, but if we compare it to previous TIs, we can see TI 12 is the lowest prize pool since 2015. In fact, TI 5 was already at a $7M USD reward around eight days after the announcement of the Compendium— over twice as much as the current reward.
The International 12 Prize Pool Predictions
When it comes down to The International 12 prize pool prediction, we think the tournament won’t have more than a $5M reward. Some experts in the Dota 2 community expect even worse results, which is no surprise considering the current state of the Compendium.
If you have followed the competitive scene in 2023, you know the Riyadh Masters 2023 was the biggest non-DPC tournament so far. Besides allowing fans to watch the best in the world, the tournament also has a massive prize pool of $15M. This reward was impressive, but what’s even more interesting is it could have been even more significant. However, Valve reportedly had to step in to regulate it so The International 2023 remains the game’s top-tier event.
Of course, this is just a rumor, and Valve has not confirmed it, and it most likely won’t. But, we wouldn’t be surprised if it is true, considering the endless financial resources of Saudi Arabia. Imagine a non-DPC tournament whose reward is ten times more than one of the “most important Dota 2 events” of the year.
The $15M Limit for the Riyadh Masters - An Indication For TI 12’s Prize Pool?
Even though our TI 12 prize pool predictions are the event will get around $5M max there may be room for it to grow. If the rumors are true and Valve stepped in to control the prize pool of the Riyadh Masters to be "only" $15M, it is possible The International 12 could target that amount. However, Valve will need to change something if they want to reach that amount.
The first big problem is the Compendium, which is just not good enough to attract more people who want to buy it. As you know, a portion of the money the company generates from this item goes to the prize pool. So far, fans have contributed more than $1.5M, which is not bad, but it’s nothing if you compare it to previous years.
The way we see it, there are two things Valve can do to increase the prize pool to $15M or above. First, the company can decide to add money and boost the reward to that amount before the event is over. The second thing, which is definitely more likely, is to see new content for the Compendium. Regardless, Valve needs to step up its game and release it fast because TI 12 will end in less than 4 weeks from now.
Speaking of improving the compendium, fans want to have cosmetic items. Valve has said this year’s Compendium is different, and is focusing on gameplay. Whether we got new gameplay features which were worth it is a question for another day, but what’s certain is players don’t like it as much as before. So, we expect to see at least a few immortal treasures, an Arcana, or something to boost players’ interest.
Will TI 12 be the final The International?
In case you haven’t heard, Valve have decided to remove the DPC for the upcoming year. This was a massive announcement some people liked, whereas others are worried this could be the end of Dota 2 esports as we know it. There are pros and cons to this decision, but the idea behind it was to stimulate organizations to come up with more tournaments without the need to follow Valve’s strict rules.
Although Valve explicitly stated The International will continue to be a thing, we wouldn’t be surprised if the company changed its mind. With that said, this is the most iconic event with the (usually) biggest prize pool, and it is a symbol of Dota 2’s success. Removing it will definitely upset the community even more.
What some of us expect to happen is a shift in the event’s popularity. Several years ago, the top-tier Dota 2 teams did not care about any other competition other than TI because of its huge prize. However, if Valve decides to change that, we may see other events offer jaw-dropping prize pools in the next year. What’s more important is that teams will be more stimulated to perform better, knowing each event is as important as TI in terms of prize money.
Riyadh Masters is a great example because Saudi Arabia is one of the countries which invests a lot of money into Dota 2 and esports in general. If the country gets a "green light" to host different kinds of events, we can expect several big competitions like the Riyadh Masters.