The day’s first game -- a match between Virtus Pro and compLexity Gaming -- started with some interesting draft choices. CompLexity picked up the Bristleback + Io combo that hasn’t been nearly as popular as it was last year, they also managed to get the Gyrocopter through the draft. Virtus Pro also snuck the Naga Siren into their draft, as well as taking the Razor; a hero who was incredibly popular last year, but has since fallen off. CompLexity’s draft combo seemed to be going poorly throughout the early and mid game as Virtus Pro was able to mount a significant lead. The American team, with a five man Smoke of Deceit, was able to pick off three of VP’s heroes and take Roshan. Though the game became a slugfest, it was compLexity that only barely managed to break their opponent and win the first game.

The first day of The International 2015 main event is in the books. The day broke with the announcement that the massive prize pool had broken 18 million dollars. In addition to filling Key Arena in Seattle, the event was viewed in 400 theaters across the nation and with limited television broadcast.

The first match came from the upper bracket, between Europe’s Team Empire and the Chinese LGD Gaming. Game one looked to be in Team Empire’s favor as they took a strong lead with aggressive play in the mid-game; however, LGD was able to find the cracks in Empire’s continued aggression and LGD was able to fight Team Empire all the way back to the European’s fountain, taking game one from the European team.

The time has finally come: Monday is the beginning of the main event for The International 2015, Valve’s DOTA 2 eSports tournament. The tournament has officially collected the largest single-event eSports prize pool in history.

Last weekend, four teams made their final gambits for spots in the event; China’s CDEC Gaming and Korean team MVP Phoenix snuck into the final two spots. This past week, all 16 teams battled through a fierce group stage to determine the final bracket for the main event.

As The International 5 continues to march closer, Dota 2 fans are greeted by an unrelenting wave of good news. Valve sells “Compendiums” annually for $10, they offer up in-game content related to the big event. 25% of the sale of these Compendiums goes towards the prize pool for TI5. Last year set a record for an e-sports event at $10.9 million, but this year -- with weeks still to go -- they’ve broken that record with a whopping $16.5 million.

We’re approaching that time of year again. Dota 2’s “The International” is beginning with its announcement of the invited teams and the playoff stages are firing-off early. As with the last two years, Valve is selling Compendiums to build hype and money for the prize pool. Last year, the tournament set a record prize pool with $10,930,698. Compendiums went live just a month ago and, with two more months to go until the event, there’s already $10,012,360 in the pool. Just the same as last year, Valve initiated the pool with $1,600,000 -- the other $8,412,360 has all come from the fans.

Raptr has just posted its Most Played PC Games for May 2014 list, a compilation that spotlights Dark Souls II’s 12-spot climb to #11. The list details the most popular PC games from May, 2014, to include League of Legends, WoW, DOTA2, and 17 others.

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Console gamers have been enjoying Dark Souls II since March, but until April 24, PC gamers have had to wait for From Software’s follow-up. Dark Souls II returns players to one of the most successful (and brutal) action RPG games of the century.

It is little wonder to anyone who’s watched any eSports that the entertainment medium is growing. Twitch.tv just recently announced that it now streams 12 billion minutes of video content per month to 45 million unique monthly viewers, a 2x growth over 2012’s year-end stats. Those metrics measure streaming as a whole, but the competitive gaming scene has grown its own niche and is clinging on tight.

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Every year in Seattle, Valve holds its yearly DOTA 2 tournament, called “The International.” Valve ponies up $1,600,000 of its own money for prizes, but that’s not what makes the funding for this tournament interesting: The last two years have seen Valve’s sale of “DOTA Compendiums,” the profits of which go toward the prize pool. Fans raised an additional $1,274,381 last year; this year, with over a month before the tournament, fans have already raised an extra $6,332,765 (as of the time of writing this article).

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DFC Intelligence reports global PC gaming software market growth from $22 billion to $25 billion in 2014, while Gartner predicts PC gaming software sales to increase to $20B from $17.7B. Either way, we're seeing nearly $3B in growth over last year. Combined console hardware and software sales are expected to reach $49B in 2014 (PS4, XB1, and respective games sales). This is a $5B growth over last year and is a totaling of PlayStation, Xbox, Wii, and other console hardware and software sales.

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The total combined video game market revenue is projected as raking in $101B in 2014.

As video game streaming takes off on a tear, we see the relatively new concept of watching others play games increase in its global domination. Twitch.tv, the most prolific game streaming service, recently announced its traffic and demographic statistics for 2013 in its annual review. Some of the stats are shocking -- although perhaps least surprising is the growth of MOBAs in popularity. Let's tear-down the stats.

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Twitch is now in the top 300 websites in the world.

By the beginning of 2012, Twitch.tv had just barely broken into the top 3000 websites in the world (source); entering 2014, Twitch is presently ranked 223 in the US and 336 globally. Alexa is admittedly not the most accurate site analytics system, but given the volume that larger sites move, it's a fair estimate for a site like Twitch. For a website entirely dedicated to gaming and streaming, those stats are pretty damn impressive -- we have to keep in mind that the average internet user doesn't even understand the concept of watching gameplay (top sites still include Google and Facebook).

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