Riot Games isn't worried about Valve's $10M Dota 2 prize pool, here's why

Emily Gera
August 18, 2014

Riot Games has no plans to match the latest prize pool offered in Dota 2's The International, head of EU eSports Jason Yeh told Polygon.

The company's decision to continue offering a comparatively smaller prize pool of roughly $2 million each year is in part a way to future proof the professional gaming branch of League of Legends, says Yeh.

According to the eSports head, the company is prioritizing investing in the League infrastructure as whole  a strategy that Riot believes will ensure the longevity of League of Legends as an eSport more than the offer of a giant pool of money each year could. Riot aims to emulate real-world sports events by eventually producing large-scale pro-gaming events on a weekly, not yearly, basis.

Likewise, a Riot representative tells Polygon the company is not interested in maintaining a large annual prize pool by "begging" its community for an aspect of the game that it has taken responsibility for. Valve opened sales of the official digital program for the International 2014 championships in May for $10, where $2.50 of every sale contributes to the prize pool. Funds from its sale grew the tournament's pot of $1.6 million set by Valve to $4 million within a week.

Comparatively, Riot hopes to avoid the possible long-term issues that a crowdfunded prize pool could produce, we're told. According to Yeh, this method potentially sets a company up for having a year with less money than the previous year, which by all accounts would be a "disaster."

Much of this year's Dota 2 prize pool was funded with sales of the virtual compendium playbook, with the eventual pool growing to $10.7 million. Check out our interview with Valve's Eric Johnson for a closer look at the evolution of The International.

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