Last year's International Dota 2 Championship tournament, better known simply as The International, had a prize pool well in excess of $10 million. That's a lot of money. It's also a lot less than what's already on the table for this year's event.
Valve ponied up the initial $1.6 million for the International prize pool, which it then bolstered through sales of The Compendium, a kind of interactive, multi-level virtual book with unlockable in-game items. The base Compendium is $10 while the Level 50 edition goes for $27, and you can also spring for individual levels to gain access to specific items. Higher levels mean more stuff, and also more money for prize pool, which is the point of the whole exercise: 25 percent of all Compendium sales go into the pot for the competing teams to fight over.
The $15 million prize pool, minus Valve's $1.6 million slice, means Dota 2 fans have contributed $13.4 million to the big show. Borrowing Phil's trick, that means $53.6 million, give or take a few hundred grand, has been spent on The Compendium this year.
Can that possibly be right? It sounds utterly ridiculous, and I'm not great at the whole "math" thing, but I keep checking and that's the number that keeps coming up. And it's not over yet: The Compendium will remain on sale until The International is over, according to Polygon, and this year's event doesnt even begin until August 3.