Esports is a global phenomenon, driven by a passionate and engaged millennial audience. Within five years, esports has already surpassed the viewership of some of the largest sports in the world and has permanently shaped the cultural landscapes of entire nations.
Part Of The Game, a unique documentary series presented by Acer Predator, hones in on some of esports’ most influential hotspots, uncovering the secrets to success of four remarkable capital cities.
Why has Korean culture embraced eSports like no other nation? How has Berlin forged a successful eSports community within such a hostile climate? What aspect of Danish culture is proving so optimal to developing their skills? Can Russia re-establish itself as an esports superpower?
Part Of The Game explores some of the most intriguing stories in the world of esports: from the bustling PC bangs of Seoul to the European esports hub of Berlin.
The esports scenes of each capital city have directly affected – and been affected by – the unique culture and history of each region.
These stories are best told through the growth of each location’s esports industry, directly correlated to the number of esports professionals competed at any one point.
The chart below shows the growth in the number of esports professionals in each of the four locations since 2000, tracing the significant moments that served to shift the esports landscapes in Copenhagen, Berlin, Seoul and Moscow.
The journey begins in Copenhagen, a near-mythological esports city. For a nation of just 5.7 million, Denmark boasts a strong roster of esports talent across multiple game titles: from FIFA Interactive World Cup winner, August “Agge” Rosenmeier to Astralis’ ELeague Major champion, Nicolai “Dev1ce” Reedtz.
Measuring the growth of each location’s esports scene in relation to the overall population of the nation emphasises the boom that has been recorded within Copenhagen in recent years.
As Thomas Koed, spokesperson for Esport Denmark reveals to us in the video, a large portion of this success should be credited to the work of the Danish education system.
After a handful of Danes showed a natural proficiency for early esports titles such as Quake III Arena and later, Counter-Strike, Denmark showed itself to be a nation of early adopters, producing champions across a range of esports titles.
Dota 2, FIFA, Counter-Strike, League of Legends; Copenhagen has developed champions in each of esports largest titles. The emphasis on pursuing passions whilst balancing education means that Denmark now boasts over 51 professional esports stars for every one million citizens.
A short flight later and POTG turns its attention to the hub of European League of Legends, Berlin.
The cultural prosperity of esports in the once hostile city is celebrated by some of the biggest names to have ever competed in the continental championship, including Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten, Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu and Raymond “kaSing” Tsang.
After producing a number of fierce Quake competitors in the early 2000’s, Germany’s major cities soon became proud hosts for some of esports’ most prestigious competitions as stable esports growth in the region continued.
As the nation developed an unquenchable thirst for Counter-Strike, demand for large-scale stadium events soon followed, perhaps most memorably ESL ONE Cologne.
Cologne later hosted the European League of Legends Championship Series, but as the industry continued to grow, Berlin moved into the limelight as the ideal host city.
As Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider describes, the international qualities of Berlin made it an ideal setting for a thriving esports scene, accommodating an array of cultures within a deeply cultural and historical city.
Seoul is the spiritual home of esports.
Having birthed the phenomenon at the turn of the millennium, South Korea has successfully embedded esports into its mainstream culture like no other nation. We explore the cultural balance of old and new Korea through the eyes of reigning champions, Longzhu Gaming and leading industry figures.
As widespread internet access and a fascination for Blizzard’s finely-tuned strategy game, Starcraft, combined, the first competitive esports scene lay its roots within the Asian hub.
As one of the world’s first esports professionals, Kook “TheBOy” Kibong, remarks: ‘esports started in Korea before spreading worldwide’. Importantly, however, the cultural divide within old and new Korea often goes unstated.
Rejuvenated by the launch of Starcraft II and the streaming platform Twitch TV at the beginning of 2011, Seoul’s esports scene still stands as the most competitive in the world, promoted by ambassadors such as Longzhu Gaming’s Kim “PraY” Jong-in and Kim “Khan” Dong-ha.
Finally, we visit the re-emerging scene of Moscow, once an esports superpower in its own right.
Having tussled with ‘official sport’ status for the best part of a decade, the efforts of the Russian Esports Federation and investment group, ESforce are beginning to bear fruit.
Just as Seoul made great initial strides into esports with Starcraft, so too did the Russian Federation with Quake III – that is, until the esports scene collapsed.
As Dimitry Smit, President of the Russian Esports Federation explains, Moscow’s culture dictates that the government recognises and approves every sporting competition in the region. Russia became the first country to recognise esports as an official sport in 2001.
Esports has twice been stripped of its accreditation as an official sport in Russia, resulting in a decline in the rate of growth in the number of competing professionals, most notably in 2006.
Now rebuilding its legacy behind Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and DOTA 2, Russian esports is hoping to build a superpower worthy of challenging the legacy of South Korea.
Russia will face competition from the emerging strength of the United States and China, who have both built self-sustaining esports ecosystems in recent years.
Across the globe, different cultures are uniquely embracing esports. Through the lens of Part Of The Game, four of the most prominent esports scenes are brought to the foreground.
Watch the full series here.