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August 12, 2013

Swedish video game team wins $1.43m

'Alliance' team dominates tournament as US sees pro-gamers as athletes.

By Ben Sullivan

A Swedish video game team has won a prize of $1.43m after claiming victory at a game tournament held in Seattle.

The Dota 2 experts, Alliance, beat off tough competition from runner-ups, Ukraine-based Na’Vi, to win the best of five match.

The prize money now stands at the highest ever single-event prize awarded for video games.

This follows news that the US has begun recognising gamers as ‘athletes’, and awarding work visas to potential sportsmen.

Dota 2 is the sequel to Defense of the Ancients, a fantasy-themed battle game created by hundreds of volunteers who modified the real-time strategy game Warcraft 3.

The tournament was hosted by video game company Valve, who put up $1.6m of prize money. The total prize money stood at $2.9m thanks to cash raised by taking a cut of a $10 interactive pamphlet which was released to help fans follow the event. Sixteen five-player teams from 12 countries took part in the five-day event at Benaroya Hall.

Local news reported that nearly 2000 spectators attended the event, but that figure was overshadowed by the 600,000 viewers online.

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"In a tournament filled with great games, it was the greatest game we have ever seen," reported the Dota 2 blog of the final match.

"Not one single action by one team went uncountered by the other. It was a slug fest of team fights."

Alliance finally emerged the victor after managing to be the first to destroy their opponents’ towers, allowing the team to coordinate the destruction of a structure known as an "ancient". The Stockholm-based team was only formed this year, competing in their first Dota 2 competition in April. Since then they have built a reputation for drafting teams including characters that are often not used by other players.

Alliance’s latest victory follows news that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services has granted a Canadian pro-gamer a visa.

Danny Le became the first international e-sports player to be given the right to work and live in the US after his application was approved in May.

Mr Le plays a game called League of Legends, and wanted to move over the border to live closer to his team mates. The title’s developer, Riot, argued that the competitions qualified as a major sports league because six or more teams competed and they generated combined revenues or more than $10m.

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