StarCraft is for Korea what curling is for Canadia, an unfortunate stereotype used as comedic material by other cultures. Even though not all Canadians curl, all Koreans do in fact play Starcaft; online gaming is in fact a national pastime:
To get some idea of just how big gaming is in the Land of the Morning Calm, you need only look at some of the data collected by the Korea Game Development & Promotion Institute following interviews of 1,500 Koreans between the ages of 9 and 49 in February 2004. Some 75.3 percent - seven out of 10 - have played computer, console or video games, with the percentages particularly high among males and the younger age brackets (in the case of Koreans 9-14 years of age, some 95.3 percent have played games). As for favored game platform, 50.6 percent cited a preference for online games. When asked why they visited PC bang, 74.6 percent said, "To play games." Given how you'd find it difficult to walk five minutes in any direction in Korea without passing at least one PC bang, this would seem to suggest a phenomenal amount of gaming going on.
It's so popular that it even warrants it's own tv channel:
And it's own sexed up star tribute youtube montages...set to um, horror rap:
Of course it's not without it's controversies:
Some play themselves to death. Last year, the deaths of at least seven people were attributed to excessive game- playing. In August, a 28-year-old man died after nearly 50 straight hours of playing online games. In December, a 38-year-old day worker collapsed and died at an Internet café; his logs showed that he had played for 417 hours in his last 20 days. There are private telephone emergency services that dispatch ambulances for children who collapse while gaming or refuse to come out of their rooms, where they remain glued to online games or threaten violence at intervening parents.Even CNN has gotten around to reporting on it, slightly dumbing it down so that even your grandmother can understand this intergameweb thing: