Inside the $18 million video game tournament on right now

The International 5 is happening right now.

(It got off to a bad start when hackers took it down.)

If you don’t know what that means, you’re not alone. But its a big deal, with $US18 million (and counting) on the line.

Dota 2 prize poolValveThe prize pool for The International 5 as of Tuesday morning.

Video games, like soccer, baseball, and football, have their professional athletes — extremely skilled players who other fans will spend hours watching play.

Pretty much any game can be an eSport. There are even professional “Super Smash Bros.” players. But by far the biggest game in eSports is “Dota 2,” a free game from the company behind other popular titles like “Portal” and “Half-Life.” The International is its official annual tournament. And it has all the pomp and circumstance of a major sports event.

Here’s a player prepping before a match:

And here’s what it looks like with two teams on stage:


 

 

“Dota 2” can be a bit technical, but there are still people who love to watch even though they never play themselves. 

Valve broadcasts the tournament to theatres and streams it online. You can also find a newcomers’ stream with entry-level commentary on its website. If you live in Seattle, you can buy tickets to watch live at the KeyArena.

For a taste of the action, here’s a match from day one of the tournament between teams Na’Vi and Vega Squadron. (Warning: the commentary on this video is geared toward long-time fans and can be a bit opaque if you’re a new to this world.)

The International 5 runs from August 3 until August 8.

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