The International Prize Pool Pushes Past $12 Million – But A New Record Is Far From A Sure Thing

Written By Robert DellaFave on June 17, 2016 - Last Updated on January 22, 2018

[toc]Exactly one month after Valve went live with its annual crowd-sourcing campaign for The International 2016, enough Battle Passes and Levels have been purchased to send the prize pool over the $12 million mark.

So far, the fund for the annual Dota 2 tournament remains firmly on stride to crack the record of $18.43 million set last year.

Yet, whether or not the campaign actually succeeds in setting a new high-water mark remains largely in question, with the first clear picture not emerging until next week.

Year-on-year comparison not apples-to-apples, yet

Last year’s campaign managed to raise $10.22 million after 31 days, placing it nearly $1.8 million off the 2016 pace. On it’s own, these figures suggest that this year’s prize fund will easily coast by last year’s marker.

But as we observed in last week’s analysis, there’s more to the story.

Based on tracking data collected by Matthew “CyborgMatt” Bailey, it was only few days ago that the 2016 campaign was outpacing the 2015 iteration by over $2.3 million – a full half-a-million more than it is currently.

And from the looks of it, the gap is about to shrink a whole lot more.

That’s because the widely popular Collector’s Cache, which historically inspires a sales surge only outdone by the initial blast, wasn’t released until Day 36 of last year’s campaign, as opposed to Day 20 in 2016.

Note on the graph the influence of the 2015 Collector’s Cache – the prize pool ballooned nearly $2 million in the first four days after release, as opposed to just a $500k climb in the four days leading up.

Now, consider that on June 15, the current campaign generated just $112k, down from $189k four days prior. Even in a somewhat optimistic scenario, where the daily contributions stabilize, the 2015 campaign’s trend line will “catch up” with the 2016 line by Day 43.

That is unless Valve provides consumers with a little extra incentive, which seems inevitable.

Immortal Treasures to the rescue?

Last year, the introduction of two Immortal Treasures temporarily vaulted sales. They didn’t have quite the impact as the Collector’s Cache, but sales did increase four-fold immediately following the reveal of the first Treasure, and approximately two-fold after the second.

From the looks of it, Valve has a total of three Immortal Treasure bundles in line for 2016 – only one of which has been revealed. Therefore, it wouldn’t surprise to see two minor sales spikes in the coming weeks.

Factor in the High-Water Mark challenge, which grants Battle Pass owners three Trust of the Benefactor rewards should the final prize pool stamp out the existing record, and we’re still of the mind that this year’s prize pool will break new ground.

That said, it may take the combination of very attractive Immortal Treasures and a late-game surprise for the fund to push all the way past $20 million.

What does Valve stands to gain?

Besides prestige and heightened brand awareness? Money, and a whole lot of it.

Only 25 percent of Battle Pass and other associated sales goes to prize fund. The other 75 percent presumably goes to Valve for hosting the tournament.

Factoring in the $1.6 million Valve allocated to kickstart the campaign, the digital distribution company has already made just under $30 million from this one vehicle alone.

Not bad for the first month of a nearly three month long campaign.

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