And if you had any doubt that Korea as a nation takes this seriously, note that the Korean Air Force actually started their own gaming team so that top players wouldn't have to stop playing when the joined the military for their compulsory two-year service. The team doesn't usually do very well in the leagues since most of the players are ancient greybeards at an average age of 27, but I bet they'd still kick most non-Korean asses.
"We who are about to play a video game salute you."
If you're wondering if it's like this anywhere else, well, no. Almost half of all copies of StarCraft (4.5 million out of 9.5 million) were sold in South Korea. Note they have one sixth the population of the U.S. Shame on you, America. We're already lagging in so many areas. Must you fall behind on StarCraft-buying too?
I think competitive eating is all we've got left.
Why is Korea so cuckoo for StarCraft? Most likely because it's a multiplayer game with strong replay value that came out just when multiplayer gaming in Internet cafes ("PC baangs") took off as the hot new craze in Korea. After staring at a screen in a cubicle all day, who wouldn't want to escape and unwind?
Left: Korea during the day. Right: Korea at night.