When talking about eSports culture, South Korea is bound to come on the list. Legendary South Korean gamers are known to dominate the eSports world. Not just the gamers but the nation has an electric audience that religiously indulges in eSports tournaments. It is safe to say that eSports is a lifestyle in the country rather than any leisure activity.
Despite being known for its competitive culture, South Korea has brought out some determined and talented players to the world of gaming. Some of the highest-earning players across South Korea are Lee Sang Hyeok, Lee Ho Seong, Cho Sung Choo, Bae Jun Sik, Lee Jae Won, and many more. In addition, around 60% of the population is dedicated to PC gaming, and 90% of gamers play on their smartphone, according to a survey conducted in 2021. Thus, even the mobile gaming culture in South Korea has given rise to some serious players.
This article will dig into the South Korean eSports culture to help you understand why it has become the biggest market for eSports worldwide.
Brief History of Korean eSports Culture
In the 90s, the Korean government took an amazing initiative – broadband network countrywide, and the rest is history. This initiative led to the emergence of LAN cafes in almost every corner of localities. It became a hobby for school students to remain hooked to computers at these cafes known as ‘bangs’ until three in the morning. It goes without saying why this led to the rise of eSports in Korea.
South Korea featured competitive gaming on TV channels. However, the South Korean Ministry of Culture and Tourism sponsored the World Cyber Olympics and Microsoft and Samsung. In addition, the South Korean government created the Korea Esports Association or KeSPA to ensure smooth eSports management across the nation.
The government of South Korea has a lot to do with South Korea being a haven for PC or mobile gamers. It is not considered ‘child’s play’ to play eSports but rather a way of getting into the limelight and earning tons of money. It is a gaming powerhouse with a mad audience and equally skilled and dedicated players.
Why Are Koreans Dedicated Towards Playing Computer Games?
South Korea is the fourth largest market for gaming and eSports. One of the many reasons behind this is the acceptance of the culture. Other than this, government initiatives and the electrifying enthusiasm of the audience have a lot to do with the dedication of Koreans towards gaming. In most of the household, a player will not be demotivated rather accepted and appreciated.
The current generation of Korea is known to be dedicated to gadgets. They are mesmerized with advanced technologies, and their search for an even better technology never ends. This is where gaming comes, and it offers a perfect blend of innovation and technology.
An Analysis of Korean Gamers
If you think gaming is for the younger generation, then you must shrug off this conception right away! When in South Korea, you simply cannot relate the eSports culture to the younger generation. You will find Koreans of all ages hooked to a mobile game on their smartphones. This even led the government to reduce the working hours in Korea from 68 hours to 52 hours a week. When the population is not working or studying, trust them to play games on their PC or mobile.
Above 18% of Korean gamer is an adult from 21 to 35 years of age and almost 15% of them are 36 to 50 year old. These numbers only reflect the high penetration and acceptance rate of mobile and PC gaming all over Korea.
The gaming culture of South Korea earns in billions. Almost half of the mobile gaming population spends abundant money on gaming, starting from playable characters, skins, power-ups, and whatnot. Not just hardcore games, but South Korea’s population also has a never-fulfilling appetite for casual gaming well.
The ‘Bangs’ Culture
Back in the 90s, the LAN café or ‘Bangs’ culture rose, and gamers played in these centers at a fixed fee for hours at a stretch. These brought Koreans to bond over their favorite computer games. These were of such a hype that many ‘bangs’ even let the players eat and even study together. This culture had a huge contribution in making expert and skilled gamers.
These PC Bangs exist even today with the best internet connection globally, top-notch computers, and jaw-dropping infrastructure. If you get lucky enough, you may land yourself in a Bang that offers you delicious food.
Esports Training and Analysts
Do you have a knack for gaming but lack the skill and strategies? Well, South Korea has got you covered. It has everything that a player wants to thrive from a beneficial environment, esteem coaches to advance technology.
You can even find a government-accredited game academy that goes by the name Game Coach Academy. A school funded by the government to help potential players to become professionals with the push they require. I hope you never imagined that even in your wildest dreams.
The academy is led by the popular figures of the eSports industry who know what is best for the upcoming generation of players. The faculty might even comprise former professionals who know what it is to be a full-fledged gamer at a professional level.
Esports Events Organized All-Around Korea
The player pool is enormous in South Korea, and so is the audience. So you will find numerous players for games like LOL and Starcraft. This is why the eSports gaming competition is so high. Playing consistently and practicing against and with the best teams globally has gradually brought out the best in the players.
South Korea is known for organizing large eSports tournaments such as Challengers, APEX, and many more. This even offers a colossal cash pool for the winners. South Korea is ahead of western countries when it comes to the tournament scene for eSports. It first organized a tournament nearly in the 1970s.
The addition of eSports in the Olympics will surely bring out some of the deserving South Korean players to the limelight.
Now you know better than to joke about South Korea being a paradise for gaming and eSports! The eSports gaming culture is backed by an aiding government & society, an ever-enthusiastic player & audience, and last but never the least, the hunger for better technology with every passing day.
South Korea might not be the birthplace of the culture, but it surely nurtured and nourished gaming enough. Moreover, it will not stop dominating the eSports world anytime soon, thanks to the cultural and economic support in the country. So you can be sure to witness South Korea dominate gaming in the coming years.