History of Dota 2

Date: 18th Apr, 17

Dota 2 is the free-to-play online game that is taking the esports world by storm. It was initially released as a sequel to the original Defense of the Ancients. The global success of the game has seen it become one of the most popular and lucrative multi-player games on the planet.

The Beginnings

Video game developer Valve Corporation got the esports ball rolling for Dota 2 back in 2011. The developer agreed to sponsor sixteen talented Dota teams to compete at the inaugural The International tournament at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany. There was a $1 million grand prize up for grabs. Ukrainian team Natus Vincere were crowned as the first ever winners and the tournament gave the world a first live screening of Dota 2.

Dota 2 has become one of the most influential titles in online gaming history

A New Era for esports

The International was confirmed for a second year in 2012. This time, the venue was expanded to the 2,500 seater arena of Benaroya Hall in Seattle, Washington at the PAX Prime event. The winning prize remained at a cool $1 million. This time, the reigning champions Natus Vincere were pipped to first place by Chinese outfit Invictus Gaming who prevailed as 3-1 victors in an intense final.

In 2013, The International evolved to the next level. The winning prize increased to $1.4 million with a percentage of fan revenue now contributing towards the prize pool. Swedish team Alliance were the winners this time around with 2011 champions Natus Vincere once again being defeated in the final. This tournament smashed esports records with the total prize pool exceeding $2.8 million and edging out the previous record of $2 million held by the League of Legends Season 2 World Championship.

The following year saw Dota 2 esports gaming continue to grow. The International switched to the KeyArena in Seattle, Washington with the attendance increasing by almost 14,000 seats. The prize pool for the tournament once again shattered records with a total prize fund of $10 million up for grabs with the eventual winners netting $5 million. Chinese team Newbee sealed a first ever crown. Three of the top four teams were from China to signal the nation's dominance of Dota 2 esports gaming.

Player Power

The International in 2015 showed the true extent of Dota 2's esports popularity and the power of the players. The prize pool hit a staggering $18 million with an estimated $16.4 million of that fund being crowd funded by players and viewers. US team Evil Geniuses put their name in esports immortality with their win that saw them earn a record $6.6 million. Other teams such as Cloud 9 and CDEC Gaming also became house hold names due to their performances at the tournament.

2015 also saw a number of other major Dota 2 tournaments deliver some huge prize pools. The Frankfurt Major hit the $3 million mark for tournament winnings. One year later, the Boston Major, Manila Major, and Shanghai Major all followed the trend by offering the same prize pool for their tournaments. The Dota 2 fever continued to spread online as well with tournaments such as New Age Dota 2 Online Tournament Season 1 taking place in 2016.

Records once again tumbled in 2016 when The International saw its prize pool hit the $20 million. The tournament was packed full of world-famous teams such as Evil Geniuses, Team Liquid, Alliance, Newbee, and Natus Vincere. However, it was the Chinese team Wings Gaming that prevailed victorious with the $9.1 million first prize.

The International 2016 broke all esports records for prize pool revenue

Dota 2 Cultural Impact

Dota 2 has had an unreal influence on modern society and culture. It helped to transcend esports from having this perceived image of a geek-dominated genre to one where the players are worshiped as idols. The fact that esports is now one of the fastest-growing online sports betting markets in the world, particularly in markets such as the UK, US, and South Africa. This shows how popular it has become in the main stream and how easy it is to get involved. Countries such as Nigeria and South Korea are opening academies in an attempt to tap into its lucrative market.

Dota 2 and the Future of esports

The expected revenues of esports are estimated to hit $700 million during 2017. More investment is being placed in esports than ever before. Bookmakers are offering more markets on esports betting. Even entire countries are committing war chests to developing the next big esports star. Professional football clubs are signing esports players to represent their clubs. The future of esports is very bright and Dota 2 can take a huge amount of credit for getting the industry to where it is now. The International 2017 cannot come soon enough where there is little doubt that even more records will fall!