How Professional Korean Gamers Interact with Fans
If you read our past posts about the gaming industry in South Korea, then you might be curious to know more. In particular, you might being wondering how gamers actually interact with their fans. Compared to other sports, in gaming there’s no jumping into the crowd after a winning touchdown or high fiving the fans closest to the court after getting off. It’s much more secluded than that. Though you’ll occasionally have interactions from the gaming stage, there’s actually another way professional gamers interact with their fans that other sports can’t really do to the same capacity. Livestreaming. In recent years, professional Korean gamers have started to livestream in their off-time to interact with fans.
What is Livestreaming?
In short, livestreaming is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a live video that someone puts on for people to watch in real-time. Other examples of livestreaming would be news broadcasts or sports channels playing games that are broadcasted live. Livestreaming has picked up steam in the recent years thanks to streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube (which has grown in the streaming community recently).
Livestreaming Video Games???
If you take a look at the livestreaming platforms I mention later on throughout the article, you’ll actually notice that the most popular livestreams being watched are gaming. Though these streamers usually aren’t professional gamers, they’re still playing video games. Many streamers on these platforms will play games because they’re entertaining enough to show during a livestream without amazing editing in content.
Though professional gaming has been around for quite a while at this point, we still don’t see too many professional gamers on streaming platforms. Why? Probably because of contracts within their teams or just a general uninterest in streaming. However, many professional Korean gamers are starting to pop up on these streaming platforms.
Where do professional Korean gamers livestream?
Earlier, I already mentioned one of the more popular choices for gamers to stream on: Twitch. Twitch is a streaming platform that began in 2011. Since its release, this platform has skyrocketed to being the number one streaming platform for gaming and other live content in the world. There’s so many individual topics on this platform that you can find nearly anything—from gaming to music to just watching funny videos.
With the features on this platform, fans can easily interact with their favorite streamer and streamers can easily communicate with their fans. There are all sorts of features that Twitch offers to build a strong community between a streamer and their fans.
Another popular streaming service amongst professional Korean gamers is AfreecaTV. This is a Korean streaming service that started up in 2005. Compared to Twitch, this service is mostly Korean. Though you might be able to navigate through some of the services with the English provided, most of the streamers speak Korean. This gives professional Korean gamers the chance to connect with fans within their own country.
Both streaming services have categories dedicated to livestreaming eSport competitions. (The Twitch eSports Category here and the AfreecaTV eSports Category here.)
How is livestreaming different from eSport competitions?
Well, for one, these streams usually consist of one person. Though these gamers might play with other people from their team, during a livestream the video is focused solely on that one player. When the player streams, they will most likely be more relaxed and less serious throughout their gaming. There aren’t any competition rules that they have to follow. This also means that the streamer can interact right away with their fans—even if they’re in the middle of playing.
This brings another point up: fans can directly communicate with the player rather than just the media. Fans can talk to other fans and to the player through a chat feature on the streaming platform. This brings the fans and the player in closer contact than they would be in any other circumstance.
eSport competitions focus most on an entire team (as they should, it’s not an individual sport most of the time). But livestreaming allows fans to watch whichever gamer they like most. Out of the various differences, this would probably be the biggest difference between competition and livestreaming.
Professional Korean Gamers Who Stream
While scanning through these streaming platforms in search of professional Korean gamers, I soon found that those streaming had a lot to do with the team they were on. Many teams don’t have players who livestream during their free time—though we don’t know why we can probably assume it has something to do with their contracts (maybe not the entire reason, but probably some of it). But there are two teams that I found with almost everyone on the team having a streaming account. With this large amount streaming from one team, it seems like this might be the team pushing their players to stream and interact with fans more.
Professional Korean Gaming Teams that Stream
T1 is probably one of the most popular South Korean gaming teams out there right now. Though they have a few different teams for different games, they have one of the most successful League of Legends (LoL) team currently.
If you go to their website, you can see the various teams/players and whether or not they stream. If they do, there will be a little streaming icon on their name plaque that you can click on. This will take you to that individual gamer’s account on the streaming service. (see image below)
A few of the popular individual gamers that come from this team:
Faker is one of the most popular professional Korean gamers in the industry right now. We go into more detail about him in this article, but just know that Faker is not only the highest-paid gamer but he is also one of the most well-known. This doesn’t change on the streaming side of things.
If you look at Twitch’s channel rankings for Korean streamers, Faker is the #4 most popular streamer. The #1 and #2 spots belong to LCK_Korea, which is currently livestreaming the LoL Champions Korea tournament, and PUBGKorea, which is currently livestreaming the PUBG tournament currently going on. The #3 spot belongs to a Korean streamer/Youtuber who plays games. Though, this streamer is not a professional gamer. This makes Faker, in the #4 spot, the most watch professional Korean gamer.
On Twitch, he has 3.2 million followers and streams LoL (which is what he plays professionally). You can visit his channel here!
The next popular streamer from T1 in their LoL team is Teddy. Though Teddy only has 370 thousand followers on his twitch, he is the next highest watched streamer from T1’s LoL team.
He streams LoL as well. If you want to check out his channel, you can click here!
From T1’s Fortnite team, most of those players stream. However, the player Sinooh has the highest number of followers at 11.8 thousand.
Unfortunately, it appears that you have to subscribe to Sinooh’s Twitch Channel in order to watch his past streams (and you have to pay for that). But you can watch him for free if he’s live. If you really want to watch him play, you can visit his channel here.
Afreeca Freecs is another League of Legends team. (If you can’t tell… most professional Korean gamers that stream play LoL.) Before they became Afreeca Freecs in 2015, this team was previously named Rebels Anarchy.
However, in 2015, they gained sponsorship from AfreecaTV and thus renamed. Whereas T1 players streamed on Twitch, Afreeca Freecs streams on AfreecaTV (most likely because of their sponsorship).
They have a team channel you can view here as well as individual accounts for each player.
A few of the more popular players include:
Kiin is one of their most popular players on the team. He streams on AfreecaTV every few days or so. I’m not quite sure what they’re called, but he has 18.4 thousand stars on his account. (Which I’m assuming is similar to followers.)
If you want to check out his channel, you can click here!
The next most popular player on Afreeca Freecs LoL team is Lehends. Though he doesn’t stream as much as Kiin, he has the next highest amount of stars at 13.2 thousand.
You can check out his channel here!
The last player I’ll mention from this team is Bang. Even though he’s the next highest-watched streamer on the team, he’s still had over 10 thousand less than Lehends. He has 2.8 thousand stars on his channel.
You can visit his channel here!
Professional Korean Gamers that Stream Games Other than LoL
Although League of Legends is one of the most popular games in South Korea right now (and the entirety of eSports), there are still plenty of other games being played. This includes Overwatch, Fortnite, StarCraft II, and many others.
If you want to check out some other professional Korean gamers from different games, here are a few:
RagnaroK is from AlphaX’s StarCraft II team. He’s one of two Korean players on their first team (Dragons). The other Korean player is Zoun (who also streams; you can visit his channel here).
RagnaroK streams StarCraft II on his Twitch channel with 17.5 thousand followers. Unfortunately, like Sinooh from T1’s team, his past streams are only available to watch if you pay for a subscription.
Nonetheless, if you want to do that, you can visit his account here.
From the Korean Overwatch team Seoul Dynasty, Anamo streams on Twitch. Though the other players seem to have Twitch account, he seems to be the most active streamer and he also keeps his past streams. Many of the other players don’t have any videos to go back through and watch.
If you want to check out his channel, you can visit it here!
What else from eSports is livestreamed on these platforms?
Though the events vary, you can actually watch some professional tournaments on Twitch or other free livestreaming services!
I mentioned these two earlier, but there are two popular gaming tournaments going on right now in Korea that are being livestreamed on Twitch. LCK Korea—which is a League of Legends tournament—and PUBG Global Invitations—which is a PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds tournament. Both of these are available to watch on Twitch.
As more tournaments start, take the time to search for them on these streaming services. They might be available for you to watch!
Compared to some other sports, eSports has its own unique way for players to connect with their fans. Through livestreaming, professional Korean gamers get the chance to connect with more fans—both international and within their own country.
If you want to learn more about the gaming and eSports industry within Korea, you can watch the video below or read through our Gaming Category! And if you want to learn about other things within the Korean culture, feel free to scroll through our Blog Page.