SEATTLE -- The prize pool for an international video game tournament in Seattle this week is now more than $20 million.
People from around the world have come to Key Arena at Seattle Center to watch professional players navigate through Dota 2, which stands for Defense of the Ancients.
“They are rock stars for sure,” said Glen Owen of Toronto, Ontario. “You should see the amount of fandom there is because it’s still a rather small community compared to NFL, hockey and all that jazz. Everyone kind of knows each other. You see someone in the streets you say 'Hey' to them.”
The International Dota 2 Championships sold out quickly with about 10,000 people during the week and 12,000 this coming weekend.
Boomer Hanke, from Kirkland, came with a couple of his friends.
“Dota’s a big deal because it’s highly competitive. It’s dynamic. It’s fast-paced. There’s a lot of moving parts,” he said. “It’s basically like a baseball game but … digital. It’s fun watching five people come together as a group and just crush the opposition.”
Cinthia Roman is about to begin her freshman year of college at Cal State LA and said she came for community.
“I’ve been playing for about four years and there are still things I learn every day,” she said. “You play Dota online with other people and you get a lot of toxic players. Everyone who comes here is pretty much those people who love Dota and that you can have a conversation with without someone getting raging angry.”