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“Korea! Faker! Zed!” – The Dissolve
At this point, we come to a common question: Why is it that Korean gamers dominate every game and region of the world of eSports? But a good answer requires a good question. And this one is in need of reexamination.

The question has several errors. First, Korean gamers aren’t always the best in “every” game. Unlike for StarCraft II and LoL, where Korean teams make the news for not winning tournaments, merely qualifying for the International tournament for Dota 2 is enough to put a Korean team in the headlines. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is another game that Korean players aren’t very good at. In other words, Korean gamers only perform well in games that are popular in Korea. Second, Korean gamers are not always dominant in the games they are good at. In LoL, for instance, the Korean league was not the world’s best until 2013. The winner of the 2012 World Championship was TPA, a Taiwanese team, and the European league and the North American league were in no way inferior to the Korean league. Korean teams were often defeated by European and North American teams.

So let me rephrase the question: How did Korean pro gamers become the world’s best so quickly in games that were popular in Korea?

What makes for best

The answer is simple. Korea may not have the biggest eSports market, but it has pioneered the transformation of gaming into a professional sport. The shift can be traced back to the 1990s and the rise of PC bang—Korean internet cafes (literally “PC rooms”). The first PC bang held StarCraft tournaments, and the winners became assets to the PC bang that hosted the tournaments. Owners would lure gamers to participate in the tournaments and let winners play for free. It was a type of marketing, and kids flocked to PC bang to see local stars. The best players in a neighborhood would end up at the same PC bang, playingStarCraft for days on end.
Korean-games  Korean-gamers  Korean-progamers  Starcraft  Korean-internet-cafes  Korean-PC-rooms 
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