There are few sports that can be rightfully associated with a single country. However, esports is the sport of South Korea as much as baseball is the sport of America. Esports is not the only thing South Koreans do, much like baseball isn’t the only sport Americans play. But South Korea is the home of Esports because it holds prestige like no other country. In fact, the South Korean military, which includes men ages 18 to 35, also has an esports team for the game StarCraft.
The Epicenter of Esports Goes Back to the ’90s
The reason why esports has become such a prolific thing in South Korea dates back to the ’90s. That is when the government decided to build a national broadband network. This proliferation of high-speed internet allowed millions of young Koreans to play computer games with each other. And that happened at a time when such a thing was not widely possible elsewhere in the world.
This happened due to the spread of PC Bangs, which are internet cafes. Millions of Koreans still go to a PC Bang today to play games for hours, and many will be online games. With millions of people playing with and against each other, it was only a matter of time that it became a competitive esport.
Why Korea Still Dominates Esports
Few countries had the infrastructure to support a competitive scene until recently. So the Koreans dominate esports ranging from StarCraft to Overwatch to League of Legends. In League of Legends, teams buy Korean players because of how highly coveted they are. The Korean dominance in Starcraft, the first popular esport in Korea, is even more pronounced.
In fact, the Koreans have been winning championships for decades. More recently, South Korea has dominated every single Overwatch World Cup since its creation. And they’re looking to continue this trend. South Korea’s early adoption of modern technology led them to become a country where competitive online gaming is commonplace.
Also, esports is a revered job for a person to have. Every major title they win reinforces the idea that esports is not only a legitimate job to have in South Korea, but also a job to take pride in. It is for those reasons that many consider South Korea to be the home of esports. It is the country that blazed the trail for everyone else.