In a historic moment at the Asian Games, the South Korean eSports team secured a stunning victory in the League of Legends, clinching the gold medal and a coveted exemption from military service. This victory marked a significant milestone for eSports and ignited discussions about exemptions for online gamers in South Korea.
Despite missing their star player, Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, the dominant South Korean team showcased exceptional skill and teamwork, emerging undefeated in the tournament. Lee, known as the League of Legends GOAT, was absent due to illness but will still receive the exemption from military service, a policy that has sparked debates in South Korea.
- South Korean law exempts individuals assessed to have enhanced national prestige from military service.
- South Korea has an ongoing debate regarding whether online gamers should be included in the exemption.
- The exemption currently applies to athletes, classical and traditional musicians, ballet dancers, and other performers who have achieved top prizes in specific competitions and are deemed to have enhanced national prestige.
- Annual revenues from gaming are projected to grow by 2.6% to reach $187.7 billion ($A291.9 billion) next year.
Global Audience Captivated
The Asian Games, embracing eSports as an official competition sport for the first time, witnessed genuine enthusiasm from the audience.
Spectators, bedecked as League of Legends champions, cheered passionately as the South Korean eSport team outperformed Taiwan in the gold-medal match. The purpose-built 4,500-seat esports arena in Hangzhou buzzed with excitement as players displayed prowess on the circular stage below, captivating the global viewership.
eSports’ Rising Popularity
With eSports gaining momentum worldwide, the Asian Games featured a lineup of diverse games, including Arena of Valor, Peace Elite, Dota 2, and Street Fighter V. The audience turnout was so overwhelming that organizers had to introduce a lottery system for ticket distribution. This surge in popularity highlights the growing influence of eSports in the global sports arena.
Esports’ potential inclusion in events like the Commonwealth Games and Olympics is on the horizon. However, the absence of a regulatory body for drug testing poses challenges. To address this, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has launched a program to educate gamers about the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs, ensuring fair competition in the eSports realm.
South Korean eSports victory at the Asian Games has resonated globally, underscoring online gamers’ remarkable skill and dedication. As eSports continues its meteoric rise, discussions about regulations and exemptions are expected to shape the future of competitive gaming, captivating audiences worldwide.
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