Just a quick heads-up that the prize pool for Valve's annual Dota 2 tournament The International, which begins next week, is at $18.6 million and rising -- making it once again the richest prize in eSports by a wide margin.
The lion's share of The International's prize pool comes from sales of Dota 2 Battle Passes, evolved versions of the Compendium virtual interactive sportsbooks Valve first began selling alongside The International in 2013.
The Battle Pass is designed a bit like a game itself, as it can be leveled up by various means that include watching Dota 2 games, completing quests, or paying real money for Battle Pass levels. A portion of all Battle Pass revenue goes into The International prize pool, and presumably the rest goes into Valve's pockets.
This year's International is now on track to surpass the prize pool of last year's event by a wide margin, since the 2015 International topped $18 million just as the event was kicking off in Seattle.
It's a big jump over The International's $10 million prize pool in 2014, and leaps and bounds larger than any other prize in eSports, including those awarded in this year's Halo Championship Series ($3 million), Smite World Championship ($1 million) and Counter-Strike: GO tourney ESL One: Cologne ($1 million).