The International 2013 – Crowdsourcing – Effectively

Posted under: Digital Natives 6th of July, 2013

Valve, simply put, are marketing geniuses.  Ok, some context: What is “The International 2013″? What is being crowdsourced and how is it being done effectively? Who is Valve and why are they marketing geniuses.

The International is an annual E-sports tournament for the game Dota 2 hosted by Valve that has in previous years, provided a prize pool of $1.6 Million Dollars.  This year is the third occurrence, “TI3″, of the annual event.  The first “International” was held at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany alongside the release of the game in it’s early beta form and was won by Na’Vi.  The second International, “TI2” was held in Seattle at Valve’s head office, allowing more control over the production of the event.  Valve covered all the expenses of all participating teams and their players for the duration of each event, as well as also providing the same hospitality for the invited casters and community figures who help cast the matches and host the event.

So what is so special about this year’s “International”, and how has Valve crowdsourced their tournament?  As with the last 2 times, Valve is again boasting an impressive $1.6 Million prize pool with the winning team receiving $1 Million.  However, this year they’ve added the extra attraction of allowing the community to participate and contribute to the prize pool by providing “The International Interactive Compendium“.

“The Interactive Compendium is a virtual passport that keeps you up to date with The International – and gives you unprecedented access to the tournament as it develops. Compete with other fans for fun and bragging rights by predicting match outcomes and stats. Receive virtual item drops while watching matches. Best of all, have your say in assembling the 2013 All Star team: Vote for 10 of your favorite players from any team and the winners will play in a showmatch at The International.”

These compendiums are sold on the Steam Store for $10 each. The kicker and selling point of the compendium is that a portion of the sale actually goes to the prize pool.

The $1.6 million prize pool for The International is now just the beginning. For every purchase of an Interactive Compendium, 25% of the price will go directly into the prize pool.”

At the time of writing, the prize pool currently stands at $2,407,195.  Over $800,000 has been added to the prize pool directly from the compendium sales.  This is one of the largest, if not the largest, amount of money that has been provided for an E-sports event by its community.  It can be argued that other companies like Riot (Developers of  LoL “League of Legends”), which uses a Freemium economy business model, fund their tournament in a similar fashion using the money from the premium users.  However, the premium users in this case are already buying premium content and it is at Riot’s discretion where they choose to spend their profit.

E-Sports Earnings” is a website that has been able to track individual earnings of professional gamers, as well as provide statistics on some of the biggest prize pool in e-sports.  Currently, Riot’s LoL has claimed the highest prize pool ($1,970,000.00) with their Season 2 World Championship last year.  TI3 is not only going to have a larger prize pool, but it’s also one of the biggest prize pool directly funded by Dota 2′s Community.

Not bad for a game that hasn’t even been officially released yet.

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