While talking negatively about 2016 has ironically become the most popular thing to do in 2016, it was a banner year for eSports tournaments, which gave a record $90.5 million in combined prize pools, according to eSportsearnings.com. This number is almost as much as the last two years combined.
This number has been steadily going up each year, but jumped up almost $25 million in 2016. What accounted for this? By and large, this increase is because of Dota 2. The International 2016 prize pool went up $2.3 million from 2015 (up to $20.7 million), and the proliferation of Dota 2's Major Tournament circuit added another $9 million that wasn't there last year ($3 million for each of them, including the latest Boston Major).
So, even with just these two tournaments, Dota 2 has accounted for more than $11 million of the $25 increase, and these don't even tell the whole story. League of Legend's World Championship series' prize pool increased by almost $3 million (still at "only" $5.07 million), but most of its smaller tournaments failed to crack $1 million total.
And while it's tempting to make this a traditional "Dota 2 vs League of Legends" article, the real story here is the continued growth of a booming eSports industry that shows no signs of slowing down. Despite the recent failings of Starcraft II on the eSports scene, more games crop up every day to take its place, and the industry as a whole doesn't seem to be going anywhere.
While it's worth noting that the growth of The International tournament's prize pool has slowed over the years (going from $1.6 million to $2.8 million, to $10.9 million, to $18.4 million to $20.7 million), there comes a point where you have to be satisfied merely with raw numbers, and I think Dota 2 reached that point two Internationals ago.
And while games like Dota 2, League of Legends & Call of Duty will always make up the bulk of the overall prize pool money, literally hundreds of eSports tournaments across dozens of video games happen every month that help contribute in a big way to this success.
So, if you've heard stories of the impending doom of eSports, that's news to them.