Look back at DOTA2’s business and development philosophy – a famous game

The picture above is a list of electronic sports tournaments (esport) with the highest value of the prize pool. It is easy to see here is the absolute superiority of DotA2. At this time, TI4 (The International 4 – DotA2 world championship) has nearly reached the 7 million USD mark of the prize, and surely the number will not stop there.

This is good news not only for DotA2 in particular, but also for esports in general. Although esports can not match the traditional sports such as football, basketball, rugby … but esport has also partly proved that it is like a sport, the stars can absolutely living only thanks to playing the game, removing prejudice: ‘only those who are not successful and can not do anything for a new society to plug in games’ are often found for a long time.

Of course, as the title suggests, this article is about Riot and Valve, primarily about the two biggest princes of making games and business in MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena – Multiplayer online arena. ). The purpose of the author is to write this article, not to compare who is superior, who is the winner, who is the loser. In addition, there is a part of ‘ruling’ for Riot, when in recent weeks, many fans both DotA2 and neutral have given them the reputation of being ‘rich but miserable’, ‘dirtied’, ‘only know eat and drink ‘…

Valve is building the philosophy of ‘drifting’

Must be very respectful to Valve, when with only a few dozen people in the DotA2 team, they are still able to create a game that is almost perfect, both in graphics and gameplay. Not less than a few times, Valve stated publicly that, in DotA2, they were only “involved” in The International, just not more. Valve does not control DotA2, they do not control DotA2 in their direction (here is not about the game itself, because of course, Valve still decides which hero will be buffed, nerf …). They do not pay the teams, they do not force the stars to shoot this ad, express their feelings … For them, it would be better to let the professional competition environment develop itself, let the teams take care of themselves. finance, self-determination of their direction. This is completely different from the Riot that I will talk about shortly.

In a deeper sense, this is partly due to the development history of this game, starting from DotA. DotA is growing steadily, communities and tournaments are organized regularly without having to follow the driving direction of any company. Game teams, stars meet and dissolve, establish and dissolve … as part of the game. This is Valve’s development strategy. Even if Valve has the worst case of bankruptcy, DotA2’s professional competition will not be seriously affected. It has been and will continue to grow without a caring hand.

Riot – for eSport and for yourself

In the eyes of gamers, Riot is often reminded of the image of a blood-sucking, rich octopus that is stingy. This is completely unjust for them. Strictly speaking, the way Riot cares about League of Legends is somewhat more than the way Valve is interested in DotA2. In the past few years, Riot has done all sorts of ways to make League of Legends a real ‘sports’.

At the present time, TI4 awards up to 7 million, and the amount of Valve spent is negative. In other words, they benefit because of the money that players spend to support TI4, only 25% go to the prize fund. Doing calculations will see, Valve has pocketed more than 20 million.

What Riot does with League of Legends tournaments is not for profit, but as they are, for eSport. Riot turns League of Legends into a sport. They organized (and facilitated) tournaments like sports tournaments, which are the North American, European, Korean Championship (OGN), Chinese championships (LPL), champion of the East South Asia (Garena) … and soon to be in Oceania. They bring experience to the audience as a true sport. Weekly teams under direct and narrative follow-up have comments from millions of viewers around the world.

If I did a simple calculation, last year, I did not take into account the cost of facilities (building 2 studios for competition), expenses incurred as annual salaries for commentators, program hosts, Air tickets and hotels for flying teams to compete every few months in different locations (‘super classic’ weeks, when in Germany, when in France …), last year Riot spent 8 million USD.

They pay a salary of $ 175,000 / season for each team, 16 teams, 2 seasons / year, and an additional prize money each season, spending $ 6 million / year (not including amateur prizes).
The annual world championship is $ 2 million.

And they did not gain any benefit.

That is Riot’s business and game development philosophy. They look like rugby NFL, want all to be under their control. They have the right to set the rules they deem necessary (recently the transfer law), they orient almost entirely the development of professional competition. The most obvious benefit of this is that League of Legends is closer to an electronic sport than DotA2. However, the weakness of Valve is that League of Legends will not develop naturally, but according to what Riot considers necessary. So, just a mistake from Riot, or what happens to the company, it is difficult for League of Legends to continue to exist and thrive.


Of course, the writers cannot have the mindset of multi-tree plants at Valve or Riot. What the writer thinks is a weakness, is that the risk has been identified and strategic to prevent those companies. The writer himself also tried in the most objective way, justifying Riot from criticism and slander they didn’t deserve, and raising the development perspective in each company, not for comparison purposes. See which views are more reasonable. Because of the truth, both DotA2 and League of Legends have developed very well in their own ways. And also look forward to DotA2 fans and League of Legends to stop making comparisons so that they can be ignorant and muttering, because in general they are all ‘sports’, and one of the biggest criteria of sports is high – Superior and hardworking.

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