You might have already heard of DotA (Defense of the Ancients). Yeah, every Filipino who’s been outside their homes knows that computer game. Someone even composed a song about it that became viral.
It’s sequel, Dota 2, developed by Valve Software (the company behind Counter Strike), has an annual tournament called ‘The International’. It can be described as the world championship for Dota 2. In it’s 4th year, the tournament’s prize pool has already reached a stunning amount of $10 million.
It isn’t just the company who provided the prize pot. Valve only seeded $1.6 million and the rest is crowd-funded through the purchase of an in-game item called the ‘compendium’. A ‘compendium’ costs $10 and with each purchase, 25% ($2.5) of the sales goes to the prize pool.
The simplest analogy I could make is that Dota 2 is like basketball. Individual skill and teamwork is required to play this game.
Dota 2 is an action real-time strategy video game where two opposing teams consisting of five players pit against each other. Each player controls a character with unique abilities and use them to destroy the enemies’ most important structure called the ‘ancient’ while also trying to defend their own (hence the acronym, DotA – Defense of the Ancients).
Its prequel, DotA, is very popular in the country where internet cafes are pretty much everywhere especially near schools. That’s why most DotA players are students from elementary to college. The sequel, Dota 2, is now gaining traction in the country though the original is still the popular one, among other DotA clones such as HoN (Heroes of Newerth) and LoL (League of Legends).
DotA is so popular in the Philippines that almost every internet cafe have this game. There are tournaments held in malls and large internet cafes such as Mineski. The game is notorious for being the reason why most couples break up and was featured in a TV show. Also, a song about it is one of the most viewed Filipino-made video on Youtube. There’s even a Filipino movie about this game.
Yeah, like what I said in the title, these Dota 2 gamers will earn more money than what we could earn in a lifetime. If the prize distribution is the same as last year’s ‘The International’, the winning team will take $5 million. That means each player will receive $1 million. That’s over 40 million pesos! Even the runner-up team will receive more than $2.2 million (that’s 2 million pesos per player).
Only the 16 finest Dota teams will compete in the tournament. Unfortunately, Filipino teams aren’t that competitive enough to qualify despite being in the scene for many years.
Also, video games are still frowned upon by traditional Filipino parents and seen as a distraction in their sons’ (and daughters’) education.