Looks like the Chinese Dota 2 team Invictus Gaming are the ones taking home The International’s million dollar grand prize, defeating Na’vi three games to one in yesterdays grand final. Even though they won 3-1 it wasn’t a one-sided fight. The teams split the first two games, each winning against the other handedly. The last two games both went to IG, but were much closer than the final score lets on. IG however were the favorite to win, but Na’vi’s tenacity kept the tournament interesting until the very end. There’s another story here however, and while many blogs will focus on the matches themselves (doing a better job than me I might add) I think it’s fair to say that Valve is also the clear winner of last night’s match.
I didn’t watch every single game in the entire week-long tournament, but because of their robust online system I was able to keep up with all of the important developments without feeling as though I missed anything. Take their game-by-game online rundown which gives any Dota 2 fan the ability to look through every single statistic and outcome of the match not just now, but in real-time as the matches were being played. There’s even a match scoreboard which updates in real-time including levels, farm, KDR, and items, all of the information needed to keep up with the action at your own pace.
This was really my favorite part of the entire tournament; the simplicity in the execution of the viewing experience. I didn’t have to go through multiple sites to keep up with everything, it was all in one place; the stream, the stats, the commentary, everything right there on the front page of the Dota 2 website. It’s silly that I would be impressed by this, but consider how difficult it was to find any information on the Olympics just a few weeks ago. There was none of that here, I was invited to watch and given the tools to do so in any fashion I wished.
Combine Valve’s ability to streamline the action with other social media sites like Reddit and I really didn’t feel like I missed very much by not being there. In the link above we get to catch a glimpse of just how big this e-sport has become as it’s full of the same audience intensity of any other sport in the world. It was difficult understand while watching the gameplay itself, but as tournament organizers have now learned to keep a camera on the audience as well, everyone gets to see the intensity of an e-sports event as it actually happened.
If you missed the grand finals Valve has been nice enough to upload them to YouTube, allowing anyone to watch whenever the feel like it. While other sports broadcasters have teams in place to make sure that no one watches even one second of the action except on TV, Valve has a completely different approach. Maybe it’s just because this whole e-sport’s scene is so new, but I have to say I think they’re on to something here, perhaps the world of “regular” sports should take a page out of their playbook and let us watch whatever we want, whenever we want, without having to jump through hoops.