The crowd watched on a big screen inside Benaroya Hall, as The Alliance prevailed over Natus Vincere of Ukraine, winning three games in a tense best-of-five series Sunday night. Green confetti sprinkled the stage as the winners hoisted a heavy trophy, shaped as a shield. Dota 2, created by Bellevue-based Valve, is played by at least 5.4 million people, said spokesman Doug Lombardi. The players control monster avatars who shoot and strike their foes within a green virtual biosphere.
Valve put up $1.6 million prize money, which swelled to $2.9 million as fans paid $10 for “compendia,” which included a raffle and an interactive guide. Seven other teams took home a share of the huge purse.
The free-to-play, massive online games are still gaining popularity. Sunday’s finals were seen by 270,000 people online, webcast in English, Chinese, Korean and Russian, and televised in pubs around the world. Some players practice eight hours a day, and a few become celebrities in the gaming world.
Lombardi said this is one of the richest of many tournaments, a phenomenon that’s now spreading in the U.S. with the same enthusiasm as overseas. “For this generation, this is for real,” he said.