SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea started the e-sports industry in the early 2000s, and it continues to be a world leader in competitive gaming. There are not only professional video game players, but also broadcasting channels and professional leagues for different kinds of games. South Koreans can easily watch professional gamers playing on both television and the internet.
According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, e-sports was a $410 million industry in South Korea last year. The country of 50 million has more than 18,000 PC cafes, filled with gamers trying to perfect their skills. Lists of the world's top players in popular games such as League of Legends and Starcraft are filled with South Korean names.
There were two final matches of League of Legends and Starcraft 2 professional leagues in recent weeks. Rox Tigers, a six-member team of players in their late teens and early 20s, won the 2016 Coca-Cola League of Legends Summer League with a victory over KT Rolster. Young players shed tears for their hard work and practice after becoming champions. For StarCraft, a team named Jin Air Green Wings became the champion, with KT Rolster again finishing second. More than 5,000 fans came to watch the best plays of professional gamers each day.