SEATTLE – Thousands of screaming fans cheered on their team to a World Championship on Sunday night in Seattle. But the games didn’t take place at CenturyLink Field, but at Benaroya Hall; and the ‘athletes’ were sitting at computers.
It was part of the five-day Dota 2 Championship, a computer game popular worldwide. At the end, the “Alliance” team ended taking home first place, worth nearly $1.5 million. Even eighth place got more than $40,000.
Dota 2 is the product of Valve Software of Bellevue. Valve's been in the video game business since 1995. Dota 2 is played on a personal computer and has become an international sensation.
The company estimates that more than a million people watched the competition online. It was broadcast over the air in China and Sweden. About 1,800 $50 tickets for the five-day tournament sold out in a matter of seconds, and scalpers were rumored to have gotten $400 to $500 for one ticket.
This is the third international championship involving 16 professional teams from around the world. The first was held in Cologne, Germany, and the second was also in Benaroya Hall. Next year may need a bigger venue.
The International Dota 2 Championships are a high tech, slick and professional production. A far, far cry from the parental image of emptied popcorn bowls and empty soda bottles piling up around teenage boys huddled around the TV or computer screen dedicated to video game play.