The staggering number likely won't translate into much support for the competitive scene.
Valve made some big changes to the Dota 2 battle pass system for 2022, splitting it into two distinct parts for the first time and spreading the content out over a five-month period. That decision seems to have paid off for the company, as reports show that paid content brought in around $293,024,922 from Sept. 1 to Jan. 12.
And now the company is facing backlash as the Dota community compares that margin of profit to how much of it went back into the competitive scene.
Each year, Valve typically puts 25 percent of all total battle pass-related purchases back into the game, which adds up to The Internationals prize pool for that competitive season. This has led to TI becoming the most lucrative esports tournament each year since 2015. Not only that, but every iteration of TI since the original in 2011 surpassed its predecessors total prize poolthough that 10-year streak was snapped with TI11.
While Valve did still contribute the usual 25 percent kickback to TI11s prize pool, that only held true for Part I of the battle pass, which ran from Sept. 1 to Nov. 2. After that point, all profits from the battle pass went directly into Valves pockets.
At the end of Part I the TI11 prize pool settled at $18,930,775, combining the crowdfunded sum of $17,330,775 to the base $1.6 million Valve always contributes. That was nowhere close to TI10s record-setting $40,018,400 total and it finished barely ahead of TI5, snapping the historical streak and leaving the community to reflect on what could have been.
Depending on which figures you look at, that reported ballpark of $293 million in battle pass profits could have translated to a TI11 prize pool of over $70 million. That would have shattered every existing esports record by a factor of $10s of millions, however, the competitive Dota community wasnt even expecting that.
Several players and personalities in competitive Dota have noted that TI being the biggest prize pool each year is fine, but making it such a lucrative event while not supporting the rest of the scene in a more substantial way could actually be hurting Dota.
When Valve announced it would not be giving any of the Part II battle pass profits toward the TI prize pool, those same personalities were hopeful it would instead be putting it back into the scene in other ways. That has seemingly not happened, however, with the current listings and projections for each Dota Pro Circuit regional league, and the Majors in 2023, all having the exact same prize pools as the previous year.
Maybe Valve will implement changes to this practice in the future, but considering the company was able to flip public perception of the battle pass fairly easily from negative to positive thanks to its free TI11 Swag Bag and additional content, it is unlikely. This is especially true since Dota 2 hit over one million players for the first time since March 2019 in October.