[toc]The release of the Immortal Treasures II package last week sparked a short-lived sales surge of Battle Passes and Levels, propelling the prize pool for The International 2016 above $14 million.
Thanks to the uptick, the fund for the calendar’s most prestigious Dota 2 tournament still remains on pace to break the $18.43 million record set in 2015.
But the gap has closed considerably, and what initially looked like a runaway race has turned into a dogfight.
New record no longer a certainty
As of the time of this writing, Valve‘s crowdsourcing campaign has generated a prize pool of just over $14.25 million – approximately $700k more than what was collected 44 days into last year’s effort.
When we last checked in , the disparity was significantly larger – nearly $1.8 million. However, that figure was an aberration caused by this year’s early release of the Collector’s Cache.
[toc]In other words, the reason the 2015 effort has effectively “caught up” in the past two weeks is because current year-on-year comparisons account for the release of the screamingly popular cache in both years.
The chart below (data via by dota2.prizetrac.kr) illustrates this trend:
Notice that the release of the Immortal Treasures II package on June 23 resulted in a sales uptick, albeit a much smaller one, of its own.
On the day the treasure was released, the prize pool surged nearly $625k, and in the week since, the fund has swelled by $1.67 million. The latter figure represents a week-on-week growth margin of nearly 250 percent.
Impressive, but hardly enough to fend off the the 2015 campaign from reclaiming the lead.
At least one more reason to be hopeful
Campaign watchers can expect another sales spike in the coming weeks when the final Immortal Treasure package is released.
Historically, big reveals that fall near the tail end of the campaign have not performed as well as those that came before. To wit, last year’s Immortal Treasures III release was the least influential of the three, prompting just $210k in campaign contributions on its first post-launch day.
However, this year’s data shows that Immortal Treasure releases are having a more notable impact, so much so, that $500k in first day contributions do not appear out of the question.
There are two other wildcards that may or may not facilitate a sales surge:
- As of Wednesday, the roster for The International 2016 is nearly set. Increased media attention and hype could very well translate into heightened Battle Pass sales.
- One of the campaign’s stretch goals is the High-Water Mark challenge, which rewards Battle Pass holders with added treasures, pending this year’s prize pool eclipses the 2015 fund. It’s plausible that momentum will build as the prize pool inches closer to last year’s mark.
On the flip side, the 2016 campaign is considerably shorter than last year’s effort. It will officially end on August 11, 87 days after it began. Last year, players had 93 days to contribute to the campaign.
The International roster takes form
Now that The International qualifiers have concluded, 14 out of the 16 competing squads are known.
Six teams bypassed the qualifiers by receiving direct invites. They are:
- Team Liquid
- LGD Gaming
- MVP Phoenix
- Natus Vincere
More details here.
ESports aficionados will readily recognize the names of most of the eight qualifying teams:
- Team Secret
- Wings Gaming
- Vici Gaming Reborn
- TNC Gaming
- Evil Geniuses
- Digital Chaos
Four wildcard teams will compete for the final two tournament spots. Last year, a wildcard team (CDED) went on to the finals, before losing to reigning champion Evil Geniuses 3-1.
Evil Geniuses won $6.6 million for its first place effort, but due to a team roster change during the Manila Major, were excluded from a direct invite.