Korean Cultural Life: PC Bang

PC Bang is a LAN gaming centre, the word is the combination of PC and Bang which means “room” in Korean and it is a place where you can surf the Internet and play various online games. You can use a computer at a price as low as about 1,000 won per hour and enjoy online games with high computer specifications.  As of 2021, there are about 9,604 PC rooms in Korea. These PC rooms, which are easily accessible at low prices, have become a cultural wave in Korea. In this post, you will get to know what a PC Bang is.

Introduction and Increase of PC Bangs

The exact origin is unknown, but the PC cafe, which was opened in 1988, is known as the first PC room in Korea and the world. At that time, the concept of a PC room was not very familiar to people and the interior inside the room was very simple. The windows were not sealed, the sunlight was not blocked and the space between the desks was wide, it was not as stuffy as PC rooms today. People usually visit PC rooms to search the Internet, write documents, and print.

The foreign exchange crisis in Korea in 1997 was a perfect opportunity for the increase of PC rooms. At that time, those in their 40s and 50s who had lost their jobs used severance pay to open PC rooms, and PC rooms increased exponentially. As a result, the number of PC rooms exploded from about 3,000 before 1998 to more than 20,000 in 2000. In 2002, the number of PC rooms peaked at more than 27,000 and after that, many centres were closed due to fierce competition and with the development of the gaming industry, PC rooms turned into spaces for enjoying games.

Gameplay

If you turn on your computer, you’ll find games categorized on your desktop. There is software installed for PC room computers and you can easily find and play famous online games, including steam games. It should be noted that most PC rooms do not allow two games to be played at the same time. In other words, you can only play one game at a time. Play live games in PC rooms with headsets that come with gaming chairs, mouse, and keyboards

Enjoying Food

Playing games like that can sometimes get boring and make you hungry, so there are various food options in the PC room. You can easily order food from your computer, including various drinks, hamburgers, ramen, and fried rice. When you order food, it is delivered to you in a few minutes, and when you’re done with the food, the employee retrieves the bowl. Recently, several PC rooms have created separate spaces for cooking food such as specialized restaurants, to provide high-quality dishes like in restaurants. The food you eat while playing games will feel much more delicious than usual. If you visit an internet cafe, I strongly recommend ordering food and eating it while playing to double the fun.

The development of the IT industry and e-sports

The PC room, which can be easily found, has contributed greatly to Korea’s growth as an e-sports powerhouse. Easy accessibility and affordability have allowed people to play games in PC rooms for a long time even if they can’t play at home and the number of users who enjoy games has increased. Along with the highest level of online infrastructure, more and more users enjoy playing games and cultural life with people in PC rooms resulting in many e-sports players.

The IT industry was also able to develop with the increase in PC Bang. Internet networks had to be distributed to cover the exploding number of PC rooms and Internet operators, who were able to make significant profits, reinvested in the Internet industry, and contributed to the development of Korea’s Internet infrastructure. With a well-equipped Internet infrastructure, internet and telecommunications companies can expand their businesses.

The PC room, which was a place to enjoy games, has developed into a complex cultural space, serving as a cafe and restaurant as well as a place to enjoy games with people.

What do you think about PC rooms?

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