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Why Games Matter
Hwang Hae-soo  |  haisoo08@cau.ac.kr
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승인 2017.08.06  19:47:59
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn
With League of Legends’ huge success in eSports, the gaming industry has become no longer viewed as a mere past time, but as a genuine field for investment and development. The addition of Overwatch only made the eSports scene even more competitive, and while the two major games are of different genres, their comparison was inevitable. The clash between the reigning champion (League of Legends) and the new challenger (Overwatch) was initially concluded with Overwatch taking first place just days after its launch (according to Korean PC Café statistics). In both games, South Korea has won world championships. Yet despite its huge success in competitive eSports, the country’s actual gaming industry can be described as sub-par at best compared to other countries’. The Forefront of Competitive Gaming: Korea Korea was the first 2016 Overwatch World Champions, and the players completely overwhelmed their peers in terms of gameplay and tactics. They won five of the seven League of Legends Championships, and have an exceptional prestige when it comes to competitive gaming, hence the stereotypes concerning Asians being good at gaming. While there are many factors that cater to this cause, one of the main ones could be the booming trend of PC Bangs – internet cafes that are designed to provide a quality PC gaming experience. By ensuring spaces where people can play computer games side by side, PC Bangs not only leaves room for more frequent encounters with gaming, they also promote it as a way of social events or in layman’s terms, a way to “hang out” and thus, the chances of people interacting with games are more likely. One could argue that the competitive nature of Korea’s education system, which inhibits the amount of allotted free time for students, sets an environment for pastimes that are not limited by space and time, in other words, games that can occur in one’s room regardless of a fixed schedule can flourish. From Ingenious Platforms to Glorified Sellouts Gaming is just as widely loved all over the world, but a majority of the major game developing companies are located within the US. The key difference between in Korea, which has a huge demand for games, is that these companies have a distinguishing feature that separtes them from other companies. Take a look at Steam. Steam had a record of 3.5 billion dollars’ worth in paid game markets, and that’s just the paid section. Steam also has a wide variety of free-to-play games that feature indie developers or gives a chance to less famous games. With all this being said, Steam itself is not a game developer, but a platform that gives access to games on the computer. Then there’s the Japanese company Nintendo; a game publishing company with their own gaming device and a long history related to games. Instead of relying on a mix and match of games all over the world, Nintendo comes up with their own game franchises, and depends on their initial success being duplicated in their sequels. They’re obviously doing something right when they have a total net worth of 21.7 billion dollars. Compare that to Korean game companies like Nexon, which is arguably the biggest game developing/publishing company in Korea where free to play games are innately linked to pay-to-win models and their way of grabbing attention is through cliché commercialization of sex and violence. Clearly Korea has a long way to go in terms of its major game developers to satisfy its thriving gaming community. Other countries’ developers tend to rely on unique strategies to meet consumer ends, and while it’s not something original once it’s copied, the major Korean game developers should take a hint at how their games never make it up high in their own local environment.< 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >
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