The Koreans are coming.
Dota 2, the second most popular esport on Earth, is now officially recognized by KeSPA, the Korean e-Sports Players Association. Play will begin next month and continue throughout the year in three tiers of professional and amateur leagues. KeSPA has managed Korea's influential esports industry since 2000.
There are also plans for a South Korean invite to The International 4, the annual world championship of Dota 2. Last year's tournament was viewed by 825,000 fans and handed out a first place prize of $1.4 million, the highest ever prize in esports.
In almost every game it touches, from StarCraft to League of Legends, KeSPA has long been synonymous with the highest level of play on Earth. KeSPA leagues consistently produce world champions. That's now left fans wondering: How long until Koreans take their place at the top tier of Dota 2 play? The current Dota 2 world champions are the Swedish squad known as Alliance.
When KeSPA adopted League of Legends in 2012, it took less than a year for Korea’s top team, Azubu Frost, to win a silver medal at the year’s world championship. Last year, Korean side SK Telecom won $1 million after defeating China's Royal Club in the Leauge of Legends world championship.
Whether or not KeSPA’s adoption of Dota 2 spurs similar success remains to be seen. But few would bet against them.
Photo via Valve/Dota 2 blog