Currently eSports tend to be recognized as a subculture rather than a real sport, but in this era the time has come to a point where eSports should be recognized as a formal sport rather than simple play. In 2018, eSports (League of Legends, StarCraft II, etc.) was adopted as a demonstration sport in the Asian Games in Palembang, Jakarta. Furthermore, it was adopted as a formal event in the Hangzhou Asian Games in 2022. According to the Global Esports Market Report published in February 2018 by Newzoo, a global game and eSport research site, the global eSport market is estimated to reach $906 million in 2018. In addition, eSports will be compete with other professional sports leagues in terms of market size.
It is no exaggeration to say that the birth of eSports in Korea is the same as that of Blizzard's StarCraft. When StarCraft released in 1998, the PC room that showed little until 1997 increased rapidly in 1998 and pushed out the pool and the game rooms while growing into a promising business. At the same time, the game industry revived around the world, and various games have been widely distributed in the PC room. Therefore, game broadcasting companies such as Ongamenet and MBC GAME were established, and online and offline competitions were introduced. Also, as the government promoted the policy of dissemination of informatization, the game industry developed and the government became interested in developing the game industry. The government created the word eSports to nurture the game industry. Overwatch, Battleground, and other successive games helped the game industry grow exponentially. The eSports tournament is also growing steadily, with Epic Games announcing the eSports tournament '2019 Fortnight World Cup' with a total prize of $100 million dollars. This will be the world's largest international game exhibition. The scale of the competition is also growing steeply.
The average annual salary of eSports professional athletes was 97.7 million won in 2017. This is an increase of 52.5% from 66.6 million won in 2016, which is much higher than other sports in Korea. With growing interest in professional gamers, a professional gaming school has been established for students who want to become professional gamers. The eSports education industry is also actively growing.
ESports has positive effects in many aspects including social, economic, and educational areas. Therefore, eSports should be recognized as a cultural sport rather than just play, and we must further develop our strengths.