What does Dota 2’s Japanese esports scene look like?

Dota 2 has a profound presence in the esports scene which is led by the game’s flagship tournament, The International. Esports is a massive industry and Dota 2 leads the way for the most lucrative prize pools. It is joined at the top by games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and fellow MOBA genre fixture, League of Legends. 

Dota 2’s popularity has been a worldwide phenomenon for a long time. Japan deserves a closer look because Dota 2 has a presence there but some people are not aware of what is going on with the game in that country.

Dota 2’s presence in the esports scene 

When Dota 2 was still the Defense of the Ancients mod in Warcraft III, there was already a booming esports scene. This was boosted even more by Valve’s acquisition of DotA which they proceeded to rebrand. Amidst that rebrand was a full commitment to the esports scene with the first iteration of The International being held at Gamescom 2011 in Germany. This event has become a fixture of the esports scene, even the Sportsbet esports betting markets too.

This was most people’s first look into Dota 2 and while it was still unfinished, it was a massive improvement from the DotA mod in Warcraft III. It was not only an improvement with graphics but the gameplay became smoother and the hero designs were more recognisable. 

Through the years, Dota 2 has continued its reputation as one of the best esports games in the world. With The International being the biggest event in the esports scene, you can also look at the numerous Dota 2 events that have emerged. These are a few of them that have become legendary: 

  • Dota 2 Asia Championships 
  • ESL One (Cologne, Stockholm, Hamburg)
  • Dota 2 Majors
  • DreamLeague
  • The Summit

Dota 2’s passionate fan base

Dota 2 will not reach the extreme heights in esports if it were not for the passionate fan base. Valve listens to their fans’ opinions when they are dissatisfied with the updates. The fans themselves show appreciation for this because it is rare for game developers to be consistent listeners.

Fans from all over the world show their passion with their cheers during Dota 2 events. You can see the event lives up to its name due to the number of fans that come from every part of the globe. Among millions of Dota 2 fans, there are some standouts including Southeast Asian and Chinese fans. 

Dota 2 has continued to have a strong connection to its fan base because of the constant updates and the solid content that is released every few months. This includes events like Diretide and Frostivus.

Why Dota 2 is a prime esports game

The esports industry has continued to become more diverse with time. There are a lot of genres in the industry but the MOBA genre is at the top. Both League and Dota 2 are MOBA games which makes the genre such a vital part of the industry. The only genre that comes close is the first-person shooter which has various sub-genres including battle royale and tactical shooter. 

Dota 2 itself is the perfect example of a MOBA game because it possesses gameplay that is to follow for viewers. That is just one of the many reasons why Dota 2 has continued to be a prime esports game. Here are a few: 

  • Dota 2 has extremely talented players - Many players have enjoyed great success thanks to their awesome skills in playing the game. They pull off some moves that you won’t see in a normal players’ game. That kind of skill set makes for an even more exciting viewing experience. 
  • Dota 2 has rock-solid coverage - Dota 2’s casters are some of the best broadcasters in the esports industry. Names like Owen ‘ODPixel’ Davies and Ioannis ‘Fogged’ Loucas create excitement but they also analyse the game much better than anyone else. 
  • There are high stakes - With the high prize pool that is present with Dota 2 events, players go all out to compete for them to win the hefty amount of rewards. 

Valve keeps improving the game

Due to the support of Valve, the Dota 2 community is always given some awesome updates almost every month. This is a big deal for Dota 2 because it makes the game feel fresher than ever before. 

The pseudonymous IceFrog is the main developer behind the scenes and they are the biggest person behind balancing the game. There are a few patches where certain heroes or items are stronger than others but most of the time, they are quite balanced. 

Dota 2 is one of the most exciting games in terms of game development because there is always something new. That is what you would want from a fun game because improvements are always inbound. 

Is Japan a well-known esports country? 

Japan is not the most well-known country in esports because they are usually in love with single-player games. They have a plethora of role-playing games that are the epitome of the single-player experience. Multiplayer games that are usually played in esports are underrated in Japan except for Riot Games’ Valorant. 

Despite the popularity of some esports, they have not broken through as top games in Japan. However, fighting games is a genre that has broken through and become a legitimate competitive circuit in Japan.

Focus on fighting games

Fighting games have a solid community of players and fans in Japan. Games like Street Fighter and Super Smash Bros. all stemmed from the country because of developers like Nintendo, Capcom, Bandai Namco, and many more. This has led to a legitimate circuit for many of these games. The current scene with new games like Dragon Ball FighterZ and BlazBlue which both stem from Japan and are influenced by games like Street Fighter and Tekken. 

The focus on fighting games can also be linked to single-player games. Dota 2 is a team-based game which is different from the single-player norm in Japan. Some gamers have continued to play Dota 2 but they are not as popular as single-player titles like fighting games.

Japan has a smaller yet passionate Dota 2 fan base

Since Japan is well-known for its passionate fan bases, seeing one for Dota 2 is heartwarming for any Dota 2 player. There is a dedicated server for Japan but they are usually alternative options for Chinese, South Korean, and Southeast Asian players. However, the Japanese Dota 2 player base has a special community. 

Xiinya’s plans for growing the Japanese Dota 2 scene

Japanese streamer Xiinya is one of the biggest personalities in Japanese Dota 2. She has become a top name in the country to the point she was signed by Alliance. While she is not a highly-skilled player, her enthusiasm for helping Japanese Dota 2 to keep growing is admirable. She only got to learn about Dota 2 in 2021 and since then, she has been hooked. 

She has detailed her plans to keep helping the scene grow. Xiinya said, ‘First step is more collaborations with other Dota 2 streamers and players. Make an event, maybe an online event. The next step we can have an offline tournament. Maybe max 30 teams. I want to sponsor the prize pool if I become richer’.

It is an admirable mission because Xiinya believes in Dota 2 and how it can bring people together and give them amazing memories. That is what happened with Xiinya and she wants to give it to other people too. 

How can Dota 2 grow in Japan? 

Dota 2 has the potential to keep growing but it has been well-documented that Valve has issues with helping the game grow. They are not on the same level as Riot, if you consider the both esports teams of League of Legends and Valorant which are two of the most popular games and esports in the world. 

While Dota 2 is still uber-popular, there are two ways that it can help foster its growth as a top game in Japan: 

Valve needs to be more proactive

Dota 2 remains one of the most popular games in the world and they should capitalise on getting bigger in such a large market as Japan. If Valve can put up campaigns, they can keep attracting new players to check out the game as a possible game they’ll play all the time.

Marketing should be better

Valve has always been a passive company when it comes to marketing. They have done the bare minimum to keep themselves afloat in that aspect because they rely on the game itself to speak for itself. Of course, that has worked out well but every Dota 2 fan knows that there is even more potential behind the game that Valve is not marketing to the fullest. 

Japan needs a support system for Dota 2

With all of the games and esports becoming popular through the years, Dota 2 should have a good foundation for its popularity in Japan. People like Mara and Xiinya have done their part but it’s time for others to show their support for the game. However, it is a two-way street as there should be a structure in place to help the Dota 2 community grow, alongside the esports scene.

The structure will be important for any Dota 2 region

If there is an esports scene that needs to thrive, they need to have a structure. This is what you can see in Europe and China which are the most successful regions in Dota 2. They have a structure to their Dota 2 esports scene which has helped develop more players. This has happened in North America too with all of the in-house leagues. 

Dota 2 has solid potential in Japan

There is untapped potential with Japanese Dota 2 but they have not been opened up. People like Mara and Xiinya are important for the progress of the country’s Dota 2 scene because they have the potential to produce special talents like what you can see in other Asian countries like China and the Philippines. 

This can even improve the Sports betting Japan markets because Dota 2 is such a big hit amongst bettors worldwide. Support Japanese Dota 2 to help the scene grow into a huge part of the game.