It is almost that time of the year again, World Cyber Games 2006 @ Italy is at our doorstep. Every year the best Starcraft players from all over the world battle it out to decide who will take the title of the world's best, and every year the tournament is dominated by Korea. Why? Why is it that in the entire WCG history there was never a non-Korean winner? Why does it always seem so hopeless for for players not from the peninsula to even get close to the Korean gaming skill level?
Some believe the answer is simple: there are more Starcraft players in Korea than the rest of the world put together. While it is a game in western countries, its a sport in South Korea. The Korean players are called progamers and they are 'working' the game, they play 10-12 hours a day, it is the center of their lives. In Korea Starcraft is a televised sport, all major league matches are broadcast on 5 different channels, and the best progamers are known by the public just as any other top sports athletes.
Korea has 3 major Starcraft leagues: The OSL (OnGameNet StarLeague), the MSL (MBCGame StarLeague) and the SKY ProLeague. Top progamers make around 200,000 to 300,000 US$ a year, not including tournament cash prizes. Winning a major Starcraft league in Korea is the honor of a life time, and is considered a much greater prestige than winning a WCG world title.
That's exactly the problem for us westerners; until there will be a proper high level European or North American league and until the Korean progamers will start considering the WCG World title above their own local titles; until all that happens I see no hope for a western world champion ... though one can always hope.
Something I vaguely recall reading on a Starcraft thread somewhere...
Nice answer for a kid.
Things like these make me wish I was korean, where progamers have a bright future and cool profits.