The games garnered a viewership averaging 300 thousand and the final match had over 1 million people watching through various streams and the in-game client. The top three prizes given at the International, rivals the PGA tour.
The greatest achievement of the International 3 is that the prize money was entirely fan-raised. DOTA 2 (Defense of the Ancients 2), is a sequel to a popular modification to the Blizzard game Warcraft 3, with Valve developing the successor. DOTA 2 is a free-to-play game, with micro-transactions for cosmetic and non-essential items. This payment model has become an increasingly popular trend in the gaming industry, and while risky, huge profits have been made by game companies when implemented correctly. For the third tournament, Valve decided to test the popularity of the event with an in-game item for sale called the Compendium.
The Compendium gave a number of cosmetic items, as well as a way to interact in the tournament with a betting system, information on the teams and players, and up to date statistics. In addition to the Compendium, Valve put rewards for the number of money raised with different prizes once money goals were achieved. The total money raised by players was over 2.9 million dollars by 290 thousand people purchasing the 10 dollar Compendium, all of which was given to the top 8 teams. This made for the greatest payout ever in a single eSports event. The gamble has paid off for Valve. With the prize money raised, Valve could focus its money on the event which raised production values to new heights. The International 3 is proof positive that eSports are viable sports, and evidence of how effective crowd sourcing can be.