Another year, another record-breaking prize pot for the annual The International Dota 2 Championships—known colloquially as The International. The 2016 tournament kicks off today with a prize pot north of $20 million, which is an incomprehensible amount of money. It’s safe to say this whole “esports” thing has gotten pretty big. (Last year’s prize pool was $18 million, by comparison.)
You can watch the whole tournament live, if you desire. Those who really care about Dota 2 have no doubt purchased the Battle Pass/Compendium—a now-traditional item sold alongside The International that rewards players with in-game tchotchkes and provides a more interactive means of watching.
But that’s for the superfans. For those who just want to drop in and see what The International is all about, there are about a dozen streaming options to choose from. You can watch through the Dota 2 client, through The International’s website, through Steam Broadcasting, on Twitch, on YouTube, and on WatchESPN.
Ready for a gimmick? If you have an HTC Vive around, you can even watch The International in VR. “Watch live matches, replays, and streams in VR Theater with up to 15 of your friends; jump into the world itself to view the action life-sized; and browse through Dota’s wide array of heroes to see all of your favorite items in full scale.” Pretty damned cool. That functionality’s available by downloading the Dota 2 client from Steam.
Last but certainly not least, the more adventurous among you (and those who live in a major/minor metropolitan area) can head to a local bar to watch with fellow Dota 2 lovers. Barcraft United has a list of events from Brazil to Germany to Indonesia to—yes—the USA, with everything from events that span the entire week of the tourney to one’s that only cover Saturday’s finals.
It should be a hell of a week, Dota 2 fan or not. And again, $20 million dollars. That’s more than $8 million for the first place team. Insanity.