Dota 2 developer Valve has hit a new milestone for the crowd-funded prize pool for The International Dota 2 Championship, crossing its stated goal of $15 million in total cash prizes for the tournament. This easily crosses last year's final overall TI prize pool of $10.9 million.
Valve opened the fifth International's prize pool at the end of April of this year with a base amount of $1.6 million. This was then supplemented by the TI5 Compendium, a digital companion and program for the tournament including a leveling system, challenges for players to complete and rewards to unlock — along with microtransactions aplenty. Higher levels reward players with Compendium-exclusive in-game items, including character skins, couriers and pets. As the Compendium has hit higher funding thresholds, more and more items have been promised to players of higher Compendium levels. The fastest — and, according to some annoyed players, only effective — means of raising a compendium level is through buying Compendium Points.
The TI5 Compendium has a base price of $10, with a version pre-leveled to 50 available for $26.99. "Point bundles" begin at $2.49 for five levels worth of points, all the way up to $9.99 for 24 levels of Compendium progress. A quarter of the proceeds from these sales go directly to TI5's prize pool, which suggests that Valve has collected nearly $60 million in overall sales for Compendium related purchases.
Players can continue to buy Compendium points and unlock additional rewards in Dota 2 until the conclusion of TI5, which means the prize pool will in all likelihood continue to grow.
Valve's 2015 International Dota 2 Championship begins on August 3 and goes through August 8.