digital nation - life on the virtual frontier

Gaming on Every Corner

We visit one of many "PC Bangs," where young Koreans come to hone their video gaming skills.

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Korean Gaming

  • Roughly 50 percent of South Koreans play games regularly, and 75 percent of gamers prefer online games
  • Currently, the most played game in Korean "PC bangs" (Internet cafes) is Aion, a massively multiplayer online role playing game. It is due for release in the U.S. in fall 2009.
  • In December 2008, the Korean government announced it would invest $237 million in the game industry to help expand gaming exports, which topped $1 billion for the first time in 2008.
  • The South Korean online games market is expected to exceed $1.7 billion by the end of 2009
  • Korea hosted the first Global Online Game Awards in 2008
  • One-third of South Korea's population of 48 million has registered to play the game KartRider at least once
  • Video game consoles, such as Sony PlayStation or Nintendo Wii, are less popular than PC games, in part because of widely available broadband Internet and a previous ban on Japanese cultural imports.


photo of a 'pc bang' BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: One of South Korea's more than 20,000 "PC bangs," this one in the capital, Seoul. The more time you spend playing video games here, the less you pay.

posted February 2, 2010

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