Millions of dollars are on the line for major esports tournaments nowadays. These large amounts are due to fans contributing to these prize pools, inflating the winnings to exorbitant amounts.
Crowdfunding, allowing people to fund a project through a number of small donations, isn't a new concept. The feature that has allowed small ventures to flourish into multi-million dollar companies has made its way into esports tournaments to increase their already-impressive prize pool.
Take the Apex Legends Global Series Championship for instance, where fan-favourite teams around the world face off against each other in a battle-royale style tournament with an initial prize pool of $1 million. However, regular players have the power to inflate the prize pool to a maximum of $3 million by purchasing in-game item bundles (i.e. costumes, weapon charms, etc.) where a portion of the proceeds goes to increasing the tournament pot. Talk about a pay day.
Video game tournaments aren't just a few gamers competing against each other in someone's basement. These days, they are massive spectacles that rival the Super Bowl in terms of viewership.
Apex Legends, a multiplayer competitive shooter game, is a wild success with over 100 million players worldwide. Not only is much of this success due to the game "feeling good to play", but also due to exposure from live-streamers and tournaments. Because these tournaments are broadcast live so everyone and anyone can watch, the game is able to reach new audiences largely through influencers streaming the tournament. Sweetening the prize pool by losing some margin on in-game microtransactions is likely worth the sacrifice to make the tournament more enticing to watch, which could get new players through the door.
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