The Ingenious Business of Dota 2

What do you know about Dota 2? Normally, the first thing entering our mind is the insane popularity of this game. It seems like every teenager spends hundreds of hours every month running through magical forests and hills, performing spells and complicated cold weapon combat moves on his enemies. What you might not now is that that teenager with a 60% possibility spends not only his time, which isn’t considered a precious resource at such a young age, but also his pocket money on skins for Dota 2. Don’t know what it means? Let’s start from the very beginning.

Dota 2 is a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena with more than 12,5 million monthly unique players. It’s a game of action and strategy where two teams of five players occupy their separate base on the map. Each player controls a character (hero) he chooses out of 113 possible candidates. The heroes are divided into categories due to their unique abilities like strength, speed, wisdom, etc. Dota 2 was released in July 2013 by Valve Corporation and quickly gained an incredibly huge audience. It became an irreplaceable part of eSport and now has the biggest prize pools in the gaming world. For instance, the sixth International in 2016 had a prize pool exceeding $20 million. The success of the game has led to the production of the official merchandise, including apparel, accessories, and toys. But there is one more kind of virtual merchandise called “skins.”

New stylish look of the old characters

Skins are the in-game items that change the visual appearance of a character. They do not influence the performance of a hero or a fire power of its weapon. They just replace its design with a new one. There are countless amounts of skins, prices of which vary from zero to hundreds of dollars. The skins are gained in the game or can be purchased at the Steam market. The important detail that you should know is that Steam platform, which is a number one seller of digital game copies, belongs to Valve Corporation. Steam Market sells skins and allows trading them between users, but takes an 11,5% cut from every deal. Moreover, the money earned from Dota 2 skin trading can’t be withdrawn from your Steam account. The platform offers to buy something else from it instead. This sounds like a perfect business. Valve created an extremely popular game and spread it among users by making it free of charge. Afterward, while making millions on competitions Valve also introduced in-game items and now controls their trade on the market.

Making money on in-game items

But the loopholes for users who want to get real money do exist. There is a whole industry of online gambling where skins substitute money. Users use Dota 2 items to pay for casinos and poker games. There’s a much safer and easier way though, services like purchase skins from users and provide them with real money instead. The prices on these platforms are slightly lower, but the customer service and convenience are on a very high level.

The world of Dota 2 goes far beyond its battling grounds. Its popularity indicates that in the nearest future Sport will be considered equal to the regular sports. The first step was already made – eSport is now officially included as a medal sport at the 2022 Asian Games, to be held in Hangzhou, China. Dota 2 will be there for sure!