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Hardcover | $36.00 Short | £29.95 | 208 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 1 figure, 5 tables | September 2010 | ISBN: 9780262014762
eBook | $25.00 Short | September 2010 | ISBN: 9780262290319
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Korea's Online Gaming Empire


In South Korea, online gaming is a cultural phenomenon. Games are broadcast on television, professional gamers are celebrities, and youth culture is often identified with online gaming. Uniquely in the online games market, Korea not only dominates the local market but has also made its mark globally. In Korea’s Online Gaming Empire, Dal Yong Jin examines the rapid growth of this industry from a political economy perspective, discussing it in social, cultural, and economic terms. Korea has the largest percentage of broadband subscribers of any country in the world, and Koreans spend increasing amounts of time and money on Internet-based games. Online gaming has become a mode of socializing--a channel for human relationships. The Korean online game industry has been a pioneer in software development and eSports (electronic sports and leagues). Jin discusses the policies of the Korean government that encouraged the development of online gaming both as a cutting-edge business and as a cultural touchstone; the impact of economic globalization; the relationship between online games and Korean society; and the future of the industry. He examines the rise of Korean online games in the global marketplace, the emergence of eSport as a youth culture phenomenon, the working conditions of professional gamers, the role of game fans as consumers, how Korea’s local online game industry has become global, and whether these emerging firms have challenged the West’s dominance in global markets.

About the Author

Dal Yong Jin is associate Professor, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology as well as Assistant Professor at Simon Fraser University.

Table of Contents

  • Korea’s Online Gaming Empire
  • Korea’s Online Gaming Empire
  • Dal Yong Jin
  • The MIT Press
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • London, England
  • © 2010
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from the publisher.
  • For information about special quantity discounts, please email
  • This book was set in Sabon by Toppan Best-set Premedia Limited. Printed and bound in the United States of America.
  • Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
  • Jin, Dal Yong, 1964–
  • Korea’s online gaming empire / Dal Yong Jin.
  •  p. cm.
  • Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • ISBN 978-0-262-01476-2 (hardcover : alk. paper) 1. Internet games—Social aspects—Korea (South) 2. Internet games—Economic aspects—Korea (South) 3. Video games industry—Korea (South)—History. I. Title.
  • GV1469.17.S63J56 2011
  • 338.4′77948095195—dc22
  • 2010008161
  • 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
  • Contents
  • I Political Economy of the Online Game Industry  1
  • 1 Introduction  3
  • 2 Sociocultural Interpretations of Digital Korea  17
  • 3 Political Economy of the Korean Online Game Industry  35
  • II Game, Culture, and Digital Economy  57
  • 4 eSports and Television Business in the Digital Economy  59
  • 5 Professional Online Game Players as New Media Workers  81
  • 6 Online Game Fans:
  • New Audience Commodities in the New Media Era?  101
  • III Globalization and Game Empire  121
  • 7 Adventure of Local Online Games toward Globalization  123
  • 8 From the Cottage Industry to Transnational Media Giants  143
  • Notes  163
  • References  169
  • Index  189


“Both developers and marketers will find this discussion enlightening.”—Brad Reid, Computing Reviews


“The Korean game industry has spearheaded the global online gaming phenomenon—it is one of the fastest growing creative industries worldwide. This book is timely and will have a captive audience, given that to date the only material on the topic has been in journal articles. It promises to fill many gaps.”
Larissa Hjorth, Senior Lecturer in Digital Art, Games Programs, School of Media and Communication, RMIT University, Melbourne
“This book will be a landmark study of Korean online gaming, serving as the touchstone for future studies on this topic. At the same time, it offers a useful methodological template for analyzing online game industries and cultures beyond the Korean example.”
Dean Chan, School of Communications and Arts, Edith Cowan University, Perth