Dota 2 Reclaims Prize Pool Record from Fortnite; Still Lags in Viewership
As is tradition, Madden released in August, marking the start of a steady stream of releases into the holidays. But August is big for other reasons, big reasons, like the biggest prize pool in esports. That might sound familiar; last month we wrote about the Fortnite World Cup, which broke the record for largest esports prize pool at $30M. That title was taken away from Dota 2’s biggest tournament, The International, which has again reclaimed this prestigious record in August, with a prize pool reaching over $34M. Impressive numbers, especially considering over $32M of that prize pool was directly raised from player purchases of Compendiums (Dota 2’s Battle Pass for The International), points to level up their Compendium (to unlock rewards quicker), and treasure chests filled with cosmetics specifically released for The International.
Dota 2’s prize pool surpassed Fortnite’s, but is that representative of its reach? Looking at Twitch, we see that Dota 2 reached a peak of 1M viewers during the final day of The International, which hosted the Losers’ Finals and Grand Finals. That’s still not quite as high as Fortnite was last month, which peaked at 1.3M concurrent viewers on Twitch for its World Cup finals. However, there are a few other metrics to consider. Fortnite has a peak daily average of around 200K concurrent viewers on Twitch, but peaked to 600K, 1M, and 1.2M during the three days of the World Cup finals. By comparison, Dota 2, which had a peak daily average of 70K concurrent viewers in July, reached over 500K viewers each day during the last six days of The International, so there’s more of a prolonged and stable increase during the week in which it occurs.
But what about the other side of this equation – YouTube? Twitch is event-oriented, but YouTube is still the king of content, and historically where games about engagement, like MineCraft and Fortnite, do best. There’s another reason to expect a big performance from Dota 2 on YouTube this year – for the first time The International took place in China, meaning that the majority of matches took place while North and South Americans were asleep. Indeed, you do see a boost in YouTube performance, which more than quadrupled in peak views after the final day of the tournament. By comparison, Fortnite only saw views almost double during the World Cup on YouTube. Even so, Dota 2 and Fortnite still live in completely different worlds on YouTube. Dota 2 peaked on YouTube this month at 12M views, while Fortnite peaked at 65M views after the World Cup. In fact, an average day in August for Fortnite is around 35M views; double what Dota 2 received at its peak.
Two of the biggest games in esports, Fortnite and Dota 2 traded prize pool records back and forth this year, but the two still live in very different worlds. Dota’s audience is niche, but committed to the esports scene, resulting in huge peaks on Twitch, but still struggling to reach a wider audience on YouTube. Fortnite, on the other hand, has a wider reach, and while esports doesn’t bring in the same scale of increase in its viewers, it still provided a substantial increase in Twitch viewership and YouTube content for those less interested in the competitive scene.