Why it matters: Dota 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game that was released in 2013. As evident by the tournament's success and its massive prize pools, the free to play game remains popular a full decade after launch. It is currently ranked second on Steam's list of the top 100 most played games with a peak of 678,994 players today.

The International is returning to Seattle. The annual esports world championship for Dota 2 will take place in October at the Climate Pledge Arena (formerly KeyArena), right in Valve's back yard.

The International 2023 will kick off on October 14 with the group stage followed by the playoffs, both under the same banner: The Road to the International. Valve said it will share more information about these events in the weeks to follow.

The finals of the tournament will start on October 27 and run through October 29.

Valve hosted the very first International with a $1 million grand prize in 2011. In 2013, Valve introduced a crowdfunding mechanism that added even more money to the prize pool. The total prize pool swelled to over $2.8 million that year to become the largest esports prize pool to date. In fact, the prize pool as grown each year to surpass the prior year with one exception.

Last year's prize pool was only $18.9 million, the lowest since 2015. For comparison, The International 2021 had a prize pool of over $40 million. It'll be curious to see how large this year's pool ends up given the current economic environment.

This will be the first International to be hosted in Seattle since 2017. From 2014 through 2017, The International took place at the same venue. Recent stops for the event have included Singapore, Bucharest, Stockholm, Shanghai and Vancouver. The event was to take place in Stockholm in 2020 but was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

More information on The International 2023 including details on how to score tickets will be released as we inch closer to October, Valve promised.

Image credit: Jakob Wells