Professional sports better watch out. One of the hottest games on the Internet has spawned a tournament that offers more prize money than The Masters, Tour de France and the Kentucky Derby.
If you are looking to add a little extra cash to your bank account, maybe you should consider playing Dota 2. The game has a tournament called The International and is offering over $10 million in prize money. And the pot is still growing.
Coming this July, The International 4 will be the biggest and most lucrative e-sports tournament the world's ever witnessed. The annual Dota 2 championship already surpassed all previous records when its prize pool crossed the $6 million mark in May, but fans have kept adding to the chest of treasure, which has now grown to over $10 million. That number is more than three times the last high water mark for e-sports — the previous year's International fell just shy of $3 million — and compares favorably to the more established professional sports leagues like the NFL.
The game is a sequel to Defense of the Ancients, which was a spinoff of the insanely popular World of Warcraft games. It pits teams of five against each other, and they battle it out to protect special structures called Ancients.
The International 4 has invited the 16 best Dota 2 teams to compete over the cash. Regional tournaments took place all over the world in May to pick the participants.
The best part about the game is that it is free to play. Anyone can hop on their computer and give it a try.
The tournament prize is even crowdfunded. Players can purchase cool upgrades for their characters and all that cash gets put into the prize pot. That means the prize will probably grow even more before the tournament starts.
I can think of a few things I'd like to do with that prize money and bet you can too. If you want to give the game a try, your kids can probably show you the ropes. It gets as many as 800,000 players at a time, so they are probably already playing. I might sit down with my son Ian this weekend for a little practice.