South Korea and Peru have something in common that has allowed both countries to have a strong competitive scene around esports.
South Korea it is considered the home of modern esports. Games like Starcraft were so popular there that they led to the creation of an electronic video game industry. A similar phenomenon occurs in Peru, due to an element present in both countries: Internet cafes or internet booths.
StarCraft: an exciting start
The game that helped jumpstart esports in South Korea was Starcraft: Brood War, a real-time strategy title developed by Blizzard Entertainment. This became a huge hit in that country, gaining a huge following on television and in internet cafes (known there as PC Bangs) where gamers gathered to play and compete.
Little by little, a large number of competitions and tournaments began to be organized, and even professional teams appeared. Television programs did their part and created live events, even on public signal. Suddenly, the players became celebrities.
This same phenomenon was replicated throughout the world during the 2000s, with other games such as Counter-Strike and Dota 2 itself. In Peru, this last game is the one that has developed the most locally, with national players who stand out from time to time. world level. But how do we get to that point?
Peru and the cabin culture
Much of the answer lies in the local cabin culture. As in South Korea, in Peru the so-called internet booths became popular, places where the use of a computer for internet purposes was rented at the beginning of the millennium.
As the booths were established more as a neighborhood business, it was common for their audience to include many young people. This coincided with the first golden age of PC gaming, when games like Half-Life, Counter-Strike, StarCraft, Age of Empires, and Warcraft III became popular.
Given the popularity of these titles, booth businesses targeted this niche by offering computers with games installed and the ability to play over LAN. It was so that, just like in Korea, a whole generation of players appeared in Peru who would learn to play those first esports at that time.
Was Peru behind in the development of esports?
Perhaps the most crucial difference between Peru and Asian countries is that esports took much longer here to be taken seriously, at least by strong capitals. In fact, electronic video games were developed professionally in the United States and Europe much earlier than here.
However, the fact that from the beginning there has been a culture that generates high-level players has meant that Peru has outstanding esports professionals today. The most recent sample is the Lima Major 2023 of Dota 2, the first major tournament in South America and the results of the Peruvians in the last world title of Valve.