South Korea witnessed a special tournament for Overwatch on the weekend where all the participants were members of the regional armed forces. It is really true that there are no boundaries when it comes to the fascinating world of esports.
The “Soldier: 76 tournament” was hosted by the Republic of Korea (ROK) army and pitted different military brigades against each other in the fight for honor and glory.
The men of South Korea are required by law to complete a mandatory twenty-one-month period in the service of the military. This covers all citizens between the ages of 18 and 35, where they can choose when to serve as long as it is before the prescribed age limit. The only way to not serve is through a special permission granted by the highest order, which is usually rare.
Considering the age range, it is no surprise that many of the young members in the South Korean army are interested in playing video games. This is usually a past time activity for relaxation since they are not allowed to leave the base for much of their military careers.
It is also important to recall that the South Korean Air Force has a long history with esports. It once fielded a professional roster for StarCraft between 2007 and 2010, the first military pro gaming initiative for the region. Lim “BoxeR” Yo Hwan was one of its most notable legendary players.
In the current age, League of Legends has mostly been dominating the esports scene of South Korea. However, Overwatch arrived last year to give the free-to-play game competition in terms of popularity. The two are often locked in combat in the local PC bangs.
Earlier this year, Blizzard enforced new restrictions where every player in South Korea must require a Korean Battle.net account in order to play. While creating an account is free, the requirement of a Korean social security number makes each account unique for the region. This allows the developer to accurately ban cheaters from the servers.