Team Alliance (Credit: Valve)
The five-man squad won a staggering $1.4 million at the Defense of the Ancients 2 (DOTA 2) world championships in Seattle this weekend -- the largest single-event prize in pro gaming history.
Created by Valve Software, DOTA 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game pitting two teams of five against one another in strategic, fortress-destroying fights. Valve put up the lion’s share of The International DOTA 2 Tournament’s total prize money, which came out to nearly $3 million.
Sixteen teams from a dozen countries slugged it out over the course of the five-day even, with Alliance and the Ukranian team Na’Vi winding up on top. Over 1,700 spectators crowded Seattle's Benaroya Hall to watch the five-game Finals, which culminated in a match so awesome it left the DOTA 2 official blog gasping for air.
“In a Tournament filled with great games, it was the greatest game we have ever seen,” they wrote. 'Not one single action by one team went uncountered by the other."
Alliance’s win isn’t exactly shocking: the Stockholm-based team has won a stunning nine DOTA 2 tournaments since forming in April of this year. But none of those smaller contests compare to this one, which lends credence to the notion that international eSports players should be treated similarity to pro athletes.
Back in May, Canadian gamer Danny “Shiphtur” Le, recognized as one of the world's top players of competing MOBA League of Legends, became the first eSports athlete to be granted a U.S. visa in order to practice with his team in California.
It wasn’t easy, but League of Legends developer Riot Games successfully argued that their eSports League met the standards for a major sports league, which includes a minimum of six teams and at least $10 million in revenue.
"We had to show this was a profession," Riot VP Dustin Beck told the LA Times. "We had to make a case that this is just like Major League Baseball or the National Hockey League."
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