Today, the pro gaming scene is gaining a lot of traction and is swiftly on its way to being featured alongside your NFL or NBA T.V. programming. And sure enough, pro gamers are taking home more and more prize money each year. It would surprise you as to how high these competitive gaming payouts are.
Similar to your typical athletes, pro gamers from all over the world represent their home countries in eSports gaming tournaments and championships. Similar to sports, some counties just dominate others. Well, South Korea… they dominate in competitive gaming.
Playing video games is considered a social activity in Korean culture, especially games that are either co-op or competitive. Both foreign and locally developed video games are highly popular in South Korea, and major esports gaming competitions are regularly broadcast on television or streamed over the internet. Today we will be taking a closer look at the South Korean eSports culture.
History of eSports in South Korea
Since the 1980’s, video games have been embedding themselves into the South Korean culture. StarCraft, one of South Korea’s most popular games and one of those that ignited eSports in the country. Starcraft sold around 4.5 million copies in the country alone (out of 9.5 million total sales).
By the year 2000, South Korea had founded an organisation named Korean e-Sports Association whose goal is to make eSports an official sport and manage South Korean eSports. This organisation was officially approved by the country’s Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism. The Korean e-Sports Association partnered with a US based e-Sports organisation named Major League Gaming, allowing KeSPA to manage MLG events for South Korea.
Gaming in South Korea Today
By 2014, eSports became South Korea’s favourite past time. With the popularity and rise of PC bangs, more and more South Koreans play video games on a daily basis. Besides Starcraft, popular game titles include DotA 2 and League of Legends.
Video games have become so popular in South Korea that many of the Korean eSport teams are now sponsored. Some of the notable South Korean eSports teams are CJ Entus, Samsung Galaxy, SK Telecom T1, and KT Rolster. It’s quite clear who sponsors who. A rumour that originated in 2014 stated that a South Korean University was accepting applications for an eSports Gaming Course. A rumour that originated in 2014 stated that a South Korean University was accepting applications for an eSports Gaming Course. This was never confirmed but does show how serious competitive gaming is in South Korean culture.
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