Katie Buckheit and Ethan Hanna
Sports Editor and Guest Writer
In the rapidly growing world of video games, it is not uncommon for celebrities or professional video game players to be seen with crowds of people wanting to meet them.
South Korea, for example, is one of the biggest markets for up and coming professional players, coaches and teams. This community is so large that a world championship might house 40,000 physical attendees and tens of millions watching at home.
Teams will prepare all year for their one chance at possibly a million dollars or more. Skills and team camaraderie are built through living in a house together and playing different strategy games for around 18 hours a day. Possibly winning the grand prize of a million dollars, each player of the winning team may walk away with a $200,000 salary for the year, not including merchandise sales and endorsements.
The biggest game of all is League of Legends, which also has its close counterpart, Dota 2. Each of these games would be called a MOBA, or a multiplayer online battle arena. Each team member in the five-versus-five game will pick a champion or hero in order to destroy the opposing team’s most valuable structure.
Aside from the professionals that play for money, amateurs might practice their skills at home or at a “PC bang.” A PC bang, in more common terms, might be considered an internet café, or lounge for people to go play video games. In South Korea, these lounges are accessible for an hourly fee and are found everywhere.
Being one of the most quickly growing “sports” in the world, some countries, specifically South Korea, are limiting exposure to said games, given the negative effects. While most negative effects occur through very excessive gaming, in South Korea, computer addiction is considered a mental illness. Once a person is “addicted” he or she might undergo “treatment” in order to stop the urge to play all the time.
Some call this new hobby a sport, while others describe the up and coming superstars as professional video game players, instead of athletes. This topic is still debated, as the lack of physical activity might stunt the acceptance as a sport, like basketball or football.
Regardless of what its title is, many people say that this growingly popular profession will soon be ubiquitous around the world.