There’s no doubt that through a past couple of years South Korea became a worldwide phenomenon that impress us with their unbelievable skill in every game. The reason is: these guys have been playing since the past century while we were playing in the sandbox. That's why we decided to make an overview of recent Korean trends, comparing to the other half of the world.
Where it all began
South Korea has always been a homeland of esports. In the 1990’s Korea experienced a rapid economic growth which caused a development of the entertainment industry, including video games. That’s why Korean government decided to build a national broadband network which led to the revolution of online games and the creation of the LAN café among the country (Called PC Bang).
In the 2000s the government decided to go all-in and create The Korea Esports Association (KeSPA) in order to legitimize and commercialize this sport. Now, KeSPA is a managing body for 25 esports in the country (Starcraft II, LoL, Overwatch, Dota 2, CS:GO etc.) and the host of the annual KeSPA cup. Today different Korean companies invest in esports teams. For example, the most famous LoL team T1 is hosted by the joint venture between SK Telecom (wireless telecommunications operator) and Comcast Spectacor.
Korean Esports market now
In the past gaming industry used to be dominated by small groups of people playing together or even solo players. Now, due to developing of digital entertainment the strong gaming community has been created which only contributes the popularization of the esports through streaming.
Our team reviewed most popular tournaments in January 2020 and LoL League KeSPA 2019 doesn’t chase from its position with the >86% of peak viewers comparing to other tournaments. One of the reasons is that the most viewed match on that event was between Korean esports MVP’s T1 and SANDBOX Gaming. Second popular event is a new season of Kartrider League which has shown great results in that month. Also, it’s interesting that on Hearthstone Inven Cup most viewed match wasn’t between only amateur players but with the participation of such pros like Flurry from Cloud9 organization.
In addition, Street Fighter V tournament “Online Warrior”, which was hosted by popular streaming team SPIRITZERO, received its own moment of glory with the 5 231 Peak Viewers.
Latest esports trends in Korea on Twitch
Comparing to other countries Korea has its own trends.
Basing on our statistics, top-2 streaming categories on Twitch in Korea are League of Legends and Just Chatting. Moreover, the difference in Hours Watched category between LoL and Just Chatting is only 1,5%. We can explain it by reviewing a survey from one of famous Korean universities - Yonsei. This analysis shows us that fans mostly watch streams to have a conversation with the streamer. That’s why such Just Chatting streamers like Saddummy, Handongsuk and Ziloner are on the top - because they provide direct interaction with their audience which creates unique connection between streamer and fans.
Hearthstone is on the 3rd place having 7,92% of overall Hours Watched quantity. It’s worth mentioning that PUBG is still popular in Korea, while in our overall January Twitch Analysis it’s only on 11th position. The reason is that Koreans more likely to play in their national product than foreign.
Also, because of the fightings popularity, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot burst into our top on the 7th position regarding the fact that the game was released only a month ago.
Famous Korean Twitch streamers
Moving further to top-10, the first two we already know from Just Chatting and in this month their positions are stable. Streamer Kimdoe moved up from rank 9 to rank 3, because in December he streamed mostly Mukbangs, but in January he focused on Jump King, that’s why he raised his amount of viewers on 63%.
Mukbang - live broadcast in which a host eats food while talking with his fans.
Also, Flurry1989 swooped into our top by streaming Hearthstone and Super Mario Maker 2 with 160 hours in total. But, for the streamer woowakgood this month wasn’t so great. He remained on the last place, because he moved from streaming in Just Chatting category to LoL.
It’s worth mentioning that prime time of viewers on Twitch streams is at 11 p.m -12 a.m in Korea, while in other countries it’s at 8 - 9 p.m.
Thus, Korea has a powerful gaming culture and community which has made a great impact on esports tournaments by raising the bar in terms of gaming skills. Their devotion to the game and work ethic prove us that they still have something to show us.
So, watch & learn, boys.
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