Esports Pros: Chances Are They’re From South Korea

  • Korean players top the charts in the esports arenas
  • Reasons have to do with the working class and the Korean culture…Wut?
  • Not one coach or player had a clue this was going down

Remember how we said there was something about most esports pros being Korean that we couldn’t place? Well, we were onto something: if there’s a competitive mode, you’ll find Korean players at the top of the charts most of the time. 

Take the San Francisco Shock team, for instance. Squeeze it and South Korean talent will ooze like cream from a Berliner Pfannkuchen (that’s a cream-filled donut for you mortals.) But it seems that there is more to this than just a coincidence, and the reasons are not upfront esports. Not a chance.

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Korean Talent Pushed Up By The Roots

Ok, enough of fun with the puns: it seems there is actually evidence that the bulk of the Korean pro gamers have been raised in a working-class family. So what, you may say… Well, this is actually a cause-consequence thread: the usual background, it seems, is a working-class family which has not much to lose and the only way out is up, because, let’s face it, esports is a high-risk endeavor and not many would put themselves on the line for gaming’s sake.

It’s the sons and daughters of bus mechanics, cab drivers, or even outcasts from financially-stable households who apparently make up the bulk of the esports talent squad. The exceptions, in turn, includes being the child of a college graduate. It seems many of the pros consulted on this mentioned the “Promise of Escape” as an incentive to go pro in a country where schooling is a pretty big deal, where academics are an intensively competitive field, with cram schools being the normal and not the exception. So, for kids who are not financially well-off, for whom cram schools and private tutoring are not an option, and the odds are pretty much against them, they find themselves with tons of free time on their hands plus very cheap gaming cafés called PC Bangs, which are generally around $1 an hour. You do the math.

Overall, with regular sports being out of the question due to money matters, being left out of the academic limelight, plus very affordable practice gaming venues, it was a no-brainer. Hey, some even became their families’ breadwinners, how’s that for turning it around.

Curiously, many Korean coaches and players were surprised when posed with the question. Clueless, to be exact, about the reasons their pros decided to join the esports industry. That just goes to show nobody’s asking the right questions. 

Either way, these musings are still in diapers and without proof, so just don’t go around quoting us (lol).

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