SEOUL, Feb. 26 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korean gamers who play PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds are breaking boundaries between online broadcasting and gaming itself, with more and more turning to the internet to show off their gaming skills.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), a South Korean online battle royale game that has garnered international popularity since its release last year, is at the forefront of a cultural change in the South Korean gaming industry, with online gaming becoming increasingly popular as a spectator sport.
According to video streaming service AfreecaTV, 47 out of 116 players who participated in APL Pilot Season, a two-month long PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds league, were regular gaming streamers, with 57 having streamed online at least once previously.
In the run up to league play, PUBG players stream their practice sessions, and also communicate with their fans after competitions come to an end.
Lim Dae-gwang, who goes by LIMSHARK on AfreecaTV, is a professional gamer, but also streams online.
“Compared to the past, the threshold for online broadcasting has been lowered. And now many amateur gamers see online streaming positively, and pursue their own channel soon after they become good at playing games.
“The boundaries between online broadcasting and eSports are going to continue to fade away,” Lim said.
Though popular online games like the StarCraft series and League of Legends spawned online streamers after gaining popularity, PUBG is unique in that the game gained popularity thanks to gamers streaming while they played, helping to publicize the game.
Makers of the first-person view survival shooting game have in the past said that PUBG was designed as a ‘game to watch’ in the early stages of planning.
Since its international release last March, the gamed gained popularity after being picked up by famous YouTubers including PewDiePie.
At one point, there were 350,000 viewers from around the world tuned into live streaming of PUBG on Twitch, with over 70 million people having watched PUBG streaming on AfreecaTV alone in a one-month period.
Industry experts say popular games like PUBG can help boost the eSports industry.
“The era of new media eSports has arrived for gamers, viewers, and organizers to enjoy. Playing careers are longer, and there is more content for fans to enjoy, while streaming platforms can create new stories,” a senior official at AfreecaTV said.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)