How different regions across the globe affect esports development

If nothing else, esports has proven its power to do one thing very well: It blurs the lines between different regions all around the world, bringing people together who might never have met otherwise, unified by common interests.

Those interests are often many, but they center around the world of gaming. It hasn’t always been that way, but it’s moving further in that direction every day now.

Growth of regions in esports

There was a time when there was little or no distinction between different geographic regions in competitive gaming. Early esports tournaments for games like Quake and StarCraft paid little or no attention to any participant’s place of origin. All that mattered was their ability to show up and take part.

Things changed over time, for multiple reasons. One was the increase in qualifying events. International tournaments such as the World Cyber Games and Esports World Cup invited competitors from all across the globe to take part in their competitions. This naturally led to regional separation, as teams and players were made to qualify through their local qualifiers.

In some cases, esports were particularly popular in one area and not as much elsewhere, creating naturally insular environments.

Regional disparity in top esports

Korea is a great example of a region that became distinct because it was effectively the only place to play certain games professionally. StarCraft: Brood War has been a competitive staple in Korea for over two decades now, but the game has only ever found a limited competitive audience abroad.

It’s for this reason that Korean players and media came to define StarCraft esports. Even when StarCraft 2 was released to broader international appeal and maintained that global flavor in its range of competitors, Korea was for years the top spot because of the infrastructure already built for StarCraft specifically.

In general, Asia has taken strongly to esports competitions. China stands next to Korea as an esports hub. The country has long seen strong performances in Dota 2, and China is the only region to regularly threaten what was once total dominance from Korean teams in League of Legends. It has been many years, for example, since any team outside of Korea or China has won the League of Legends World Championship.

There may be cultural reasons for some of this, and some of it may just come down to comfortability. Some people prefer to stick to the culture and traditions they know best; even when it comes to dating, they’re able to give Hily a try and find other like minded people.

But these disparities have largely shrunk over the ensuing years.

Money brings people together, including in esports

One of the biggest reasons for regions blending together is simple: money. Big teams in North America and China have the resources to attract players from abroad, and they don’t hesitate to do so.

Sticking to League of Legends, it has become a regular tradition for North American and Chinese teams to raid Korean esports organizations for promising talents. It’s not a phenomenon limited to those regions, either; teams in Europe, Brazil, Japan, and just about everywhere else are happy to import Korean talents in the hopes of achieving the success that top Korean teams regularly find.

It can work the other way around, too. Top international players in StarCraft 2, names like Joona “Serral” Sotala, Alex “Neeb” Sunderhaft, and Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn have traveled from such countries as Finland, the United States, and Canada to compete with, and best, the top domestic talents in Korea.

As players across different regions have increasingly been mixed together, so too have their respective competitive scenes, leading to a more international esports scene.

Given how big the games, teams, and tournaments all are, and how much money is involved, fans can expect that the globalization of esports will continue moving forward.

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