Stephen Evans goes deep into the Milky Way to look at the phenomenon of StarCraft and reveals how, in South Korea, it is more than just a computer game and is a key part of the rapidly growing multi-billion dollar world of esports.
Worth over $620 million globally, with a worldwide audience of over 135 million people, esports are now big business, and in South Korea much of this thanks to the impact of certain computer game called StarCraft.
StarCraft is essentially a sci-fi, military-based real-time strategy (RTS) game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment. It was released in 1998 and in the years since has become one of the world's most popular computer game titles shifting over 11 million copies and spawning a mainstream cultural sensation in South Korea where thousands of fans pack into stadiums across the country to watch the best StarCraft players in the world battle it out for big money stakes.
From the importance of PC Bangs - the ubiquitous street corner hubs for gaming fans - to the multi-million dollar world of professional StarCraft and esports Soul-based journalist and broadcaster Stephen Evans joins the dots of how this game took root in a South Korean society that embraced super fast broadband and was thirsty for a multi-scenario, multi-player and multi-layered challenge.
Socially inclusive, cheap and available to everyone, since the late 1990s online gaming has taken this nation of 50 million people by storm, and StarCraft is central to this way of life. This way of life has brought dizzying successes and change, but with it the issue of addiction and related health problems the South Korean government have been forced to regulate this brave new world to tackle issues that are becoming increasingly relevant to policy makers outside of the Korean peninsular.