In the last five years the payouts at top eSports competitions have become outrageous. Obviously, the size of the prize pool is no indication of the prestigiousness of the event, but it can make a big difference to who turns up to take part. When eSports prizes first started being given away they were minor items such as a Rolex or Ferrari car. While they were considered remarkable at the time, there is little comparison with the prizes given away nowadays. Many of the prize pools of today are large enough for players to retire on.
Why are the eSports prize pools so big? A big part of it is the popularity of crowdfunding. Many developers are offering unique in-game items to players so that overall prize pools can be increased. Valve has been very successful at employing this kind of model and to date DOTA 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive have been the best examples.
To give you an idea of the kind of prizes to be won here's our list of the top 10 biggest prize pools on a tournament basis.
The International 6 - $20.4 million: this is Valve's annual world championship in DOTA 2 and has been breaking prize pool records ever since the competition was first held. It is the most successful example of crowdfunded prize pools in the history of eSports. The winners if this event, Wings Gaming, took home a total of $9.1 million.
The 2016 League of Legends World Championship - $5 million: the overall prize pool for this competition was increased for the first time because Riot Games has allowed the purchase of in-game items and it has been the largest event in the game's history in terms of prize money.
The DOTA 2 Asia Championship - $3 million: this event took place in Shanghai, China.
The DOTA 2 Valve Majors - $3 million: the majors are the biggest events in the DOTA 2 circuit, aside from The International.
The 2015 Smite World Championship - $2.6 million: Hi=Rez implemented crowd-funding to enable the prize pool to be increased for 2015. The winners, took home around half of the prize pool.
The 2016 Halo World Championship - $2.5 million: sponsored in full by Microsoft Studios.
The 2016 Call of Duty XP Championship - $2 million
2016 World Esports Games - $1.5 million
ELEAGUE Season 1 - $1.4 million
BlizzCon 2016 World Championship - $1 million
1. The International 6 - $20.4 million
2. The International 5 - $18.4 million
3. The International 4 - $10.9 million
4. 2016 League of Legends World Championship - $5 million
5. 2015 DOTA 2 Asia Championship - $3 million
6. The DOTA 2 Majors - $3 million
7. The International 3 - $2.8 million
8. 2016 Smite World Championship - $2.6 million
9. 2016 Halo World Championship - $2.5 million
10. 2014-2015 League of Legends World Championship -$2.1 million