During this year’s Blizzcon, a game culture convention which took place last week in Anaheim, California, there was a world tournament in Blizzard’s popular multiplayer shooter Overwatch. The South Korean team, which was labeled as the biggest favorite, managed to win the World Cup for the third time in a row, despite some surprises during the final stage of the tournament.
For the element of surprise, there was the Great Britain team, since they managed to make the champion struggle in the semi-final. The Brits evened the score twice in the 5-win match, so South Koreans had to amp up and defeat them in the decisive round. South Koreans proved that there aren’t favorites for nothing by beating China in finals with relative ease. Although they didn’t manage to win a medal in a final order, the British team has all rights to be proud, because they defeated a far greater favorite, the USA team, in the quarterfinals.
South Korea went to finals, where they defeated the Chinese team with relative ease, far easier than they defeated the competitors from the United Kingdom. In the final ranks, South Korea won the gold medal, China won silver, and a third place and the bronze medal went to the Canadian team. This was the third triumph in a row for the South Korean team, which makes this nation most successful in this game. After the finals, members of the Korean team were interviewed and one of them said that they are unstoppable and that no one could defeat them without cheats. This pretty bold statement is backed up by the magnificent success of Korean esport teams. But what is the reason for such a dominance of South Korea?
The biggest and the main reason would be the Korean infrastructure which allows a lot of young players to hone their skills and learn the games. South Korea’s full of Bangs, which is the name for PC game room cafes, and it has the biggest internet speed in the world. All that makes for perfect conditions for the development of the skills of young Korean players. Also, Korean teams take esports much more seriously, investing more time and money into team building, analyzing and hiring the staff needed to help the team.
Another important factor is that most of the Korean teams are at the top of the game, and they are usually practicing among themselves, keeping the form and skills on the supreme level. It’s not negligible to mention the status of esports players in Korea compared to the rest of the world. Korean professional esports players have a status equal to the personal athlete superstars. Some of the players even have a fangirl clubs which followed them on the competitions and the root for them. On the other hand, European and North American players are still seen as too geeky and not too much popular. The good thing is that it started to change, which we could see in the case of the welcoming ceremony of the Danish CS: GO team Astralis in Copenhagen.
As the things currently are, South Korea is still dominating the esports scene, and it looks like it will take a while before some other team manages to come closer to their status.