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State of Play: We Don't Play For Fun, We Play For Work

Dhoedt, Steven
"Man only plays when in the full meaning of the word he is a man, and he is only completely a man when he plays." — Friedrich Schiller Globally, thousands of teenagers are seriously contemplating a professional career as a gamer. Annually, millions of viewers are attending the leagues or following the tournaments online. As competitive gaming is gaining momentum all over the world, it is time to show the true face of eSports. Every year thousands of South-Koreans flock to the game stadiums in Seoul to watch the Pro League, a live sports event where professional gamers compete to be the best at one single video game: Starcraft. It's a title many young South Koreans dream of. The game itself is more than a decade old, almost ancient in the fast developing world of video games, but in South Korea it has become a national past-time. Like most specator sports, this world of eSports rapidly evolved in a multi-million dollar business. The stars of the Starcraft league are national celebrities, participating on all levels of popular culture. 24hr TV networks devote entire theme shows to a single player, while teenage girls from Seoul devote their entire teenage life to the fan club of their favourite gaming star. As top players earn hundreds of thousands of euros, being a Starcraft player isn't only a wise career move, it is also the path to respect and credibility in the highly competitive society of South Korea.They are envied and admired because they do what they love and make a lot of money doing so. Unfortunately few people realise these gamers live a spartan life of training and competition - just as any other professional athlete. However, a series of radical events has broken the status quo of the Korean eSports scene. First there was the match-fixing scandal, where several high profile players were caught losing games in exchange for money. Soon after that, Starcraft II, a follow-up to the game was released. New players entered the scene and brand new tournaments were established. As eSports finally became global, the South-Korean professional gaming scene faced a clear-cut choice: adapt or perish. In this story, we follow 3 boys in different stages of their career as a Pro-Gamer in South Korea. For some it will be a struggle to stay on top of their game, for others it might be the turning point of their lives

State of Play: We Don't Play For Fun, We Play For Work

[San Francisco, California, USA] : Kanopy Streaming, 2015.

Title from title frames.; In Process Record.

Originally produced by Visual Antics in 2013.

Mode of access: World Wide Web.

In Korean, Subtitles in English

Dhoedt, Steven, filmmaker; Van Berckelaer, Gert, filmmaker

Kanopy (Firm)
Target Readership: