While gaming is considered all over the world a mundane chill out activity among teenagers, Koreans take it to the next level, making a national sport out of it. Hence, not only did Korea come to host the biggest e-sports competitions, but also united crowds as one in one of the most thrilling gaming venues worldwide.
Incredible though it may seem, the gamer's career is regarded with very great respect in Korea, and generously rewarded by various sponsors. Thus, teenagers who spend their time mainly in front of the screen, testing the latest gaming releases or improving their skills and strategies for the existing games, can get a stable job, while being esteemed by their parents as well, to the astonishment of Western elders who find this activity nothing but a waste of time.
Thanks to their native-intelligence and their inclination towards gadgets and the cyber area, Korean youngsters dominate the charts at various world tournaments, to the excitement of millions of fans who watch them at every step, hoping to peek at their well-kept connoisseur secrets. Among the most popular titles now we find Overwatch, League of Legends and PUBG, which count as a subject of interest to both boys and girls.
As a response to this booming phenomenon, Koreans developed a profitable business type, called PC bang (피시방). These public spaces share the idea of an internet cafe, found in many places all over the world, but at the same time they come up with a twist, consisting of their latest generation equipment, lightning-fast internet connection, as well as spacious interiors and thematic decorations, being the most suitable place for students to enjoy a well-deserved hang out with their friends after finishing classes. Moreover, PC bangs come to concentrated gamers’ aid offering dining facilities, thus the fun going on without interruption. Despite their multiple services, these gaming halls charge relatively small fees, being preponderantly oriented to students and teenagers. Furthermore, they are available at every corner, in all neighborhoods and public areas, each Korean citizen interested in gaming being privileged to use such a place without going too far from home.
In 2018, Seoul hosted the 8th edition of the League of Legends World Championship. With this occasion, over 40.000 had the opportunity to discover the Korean universe, while enjoying a tournament with plentiful surprises prepared by the organizers. It was also during this event when the first virtual K-Pop group, K/DA, was formed with the collaboration of several renowned Korean singers and successful overseas artists who put a remarkable effort into voicing characters from the game. Their success was beyond expectations, generating an outburst of excitement among the audience, as well as a viral trend on social media. The newly released single, Pop/Stars, was immensely popular and appreciated all over the world, reaching millions of views and likes within the first hours of its premiere. Thus, Koreans managed to effectively integrate the already distinguished entertainment industry within the universe of gaming, innovating once again.
Therefore, gaming will continue to remain a hot topic for the years that are yet to come, broadening the horizons of Korean teenagers. We are all curious about what these professional gamers are up to in the future, given the ceaseless technological progress and the steady growth of the gaming industry.