South Korea is highly revered as the leader in the gaming industry, not only for pioneering esports but also for dominating the world of professional gaming. The country’s gaming reputation is quite impressive, it earned the Republic of Korea (ROK) the right to be called the Hollywood of elite professional gamers.
Competitive gaming is deeply embedded in the country’s mass-culture, as evidenced by the growth of Internet cafes. Here, PCs are specially built and designed for Korean gamers looking to level up and become top rankers in global online gaming competitions. Actually, the Internet cafes are more popularly known as “PC Bangs,” where players pay for every hour spent playing on individual PCs tailored for massive multiplayer online gaming.
Korea’s “PC Bangs” had in fact served as the breeding ground of the country’s first wave of celebrity professional gamers. Korea’s esports, on the other hand, went on to develop a fully organized structure, in which an ecosystem comprising content creators, contest organizers, tournament prize sponsors, brand advertising partners and streaming platforms all work together to ensure the success of esports tournaments.
The popularity of Korea’s esports competitions has in fact, transformed the market into a billion dollar industry. It is expected to grow further, being the only sport that was able to thrive amidst the global lockdowns wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the factors that helped gaming in South Korea become a multibillion dollar industry is the support given by the ROK government. In the earlier days, the popularity of PC Bangs gave rise to concerns over gaming addiction, which had prompted the government to enact a law known as the “Shutdown Law” in 2011. The legislation is also known as the “Cinderella Law” as it strictly prohibited children under 16 years of age to play online video games from 12:00 midnight up to 6:00 AM
However, the government has made important changes, including giving parents the right to request for a lifting of the ban on behalf of their below 16-year old children. Actually the gaming sector is not the only industry toward which the South Korean government has demonstrated flexibility; all in the name of promoting the welfare of the people in line with the changing times.
ROK’s Government Addresses Population Growth Problem
In traditional Korean culture, sex is taboo. It meant that anything related to reproductive organs and acts of reproduction should not be discussed, be used as a theme or be a part of a legal trade. However, as Korea’s modern society came to produce generations that showed more enthusiasm in building careers over building a family, the country has been experiencing slow population growth.
This is now foreseen as a problem because if the birth rate remains low, the Republic will eventually rely on a population of aging people as its workforce.
That is why part of the reforms introduced by the Korean government in 2017 included deregulation in the trade and importation of adult products. Perhaps seen as a way to remove sexual inhibitions and promote fertility, adult toys are now traded openly, both at physical stores and online markets.
Adult supply stores have likewise flourished and transformed into becoming respectable-looking shops, where buying adult supplies such as lubricants, gels, adult bedroom toys and woomenizers (우머나이저 ) or vibrators, is no longer a cause for embarrassment or shame.