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The secret sauce of Dota 2: crowdsourcing and crowdfunding

Dota 2 boasts the highest ARPU (average monthly revenue per active user) among the MOBA genre. Why? I claim that crowdfunding and crowdsourcing, the secret sauce of Dota 2 if you will, are the keys to this success.
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The presentation is based on my blog post The secret sauce of Dota 2: crowdsourcing and crowdfunding at

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The secret sauce of Dota 2: crowdsourcing and crowdfunding

  1. 1. The secret sauce of Crowdfunding and crowdsourcing
  2. 2. MOBA genre ARPU • Dota 2: $1.54 • Heroes of Newerth: $1.48 • League of Legends: $1.32 (still by far the most successful in total revenue) (average revenue per monthly user, according to SuperData Research, 2014)
  3. 3. Why is Dota 2 at the top? • It is even giving everything gameplay-related away for free! • More hardcore, maybe? • Crowdfunding and crowdsourcing!
  4. 4. Crowdfunding of tournaments and teams • In the past 2 years, more than $32 million of Dota 2 tournament prize pools have been crowdfunded – dwarfing the over $8 million that has been provided by the organizers • Example:The International 5 compendium, sales of over $67 million, 25% went to the prize pool of the tournament • Professional teams have a chance to get their branded cosmetic items, such as HUD bundles, up for sale in the game store • Compare to: Smite crowdfunded $2 million to its world championship prize pool in 2014, making it the third-largest esports tournament of the year. Not bad for a clearly smaller title!
  5. 5. Crowdsourcing of content • It is possible for anyone to create new cosmetic items and upload them to Valve’s workshop for potential inclusion into the game – and if selected, for a share of the profits generated from that item • This business model enablesValve to include much more items to cover any possible taste – more sales!
  6. 6. Conclusions • Crowdfunding gives purchases more purpose, making them about something more than just buying pixels on a screen • Crowdsourcing enables the creation of much more content to cover any possible taste • Combined, they form the basis of a different take on monetization