Gaming Addiction in Seoul

By Deane Barker on October 7, 2005

They can’t stop playing video games: South Korea apparently has a serious problem with gaming addiction.

At the 1,000 won-per-hour ($1) Internet cafes popular among young South Koreans, they’ll sit eyes glued to monitors for hours on end. Sometimes play will extend for days.

“I’ve seen people who play games for months, just briefly going home for a change of clothing, taking care of all their eating and sleeping here,” Jun said.

Gamers camped out at Internet cafes typically live on instant cup noodles and cigarettes, barely sleeping and seldom washing.

But don’t worry — the pros have doctors:

He admitted, however, that the seven to eight hours of daily training — which sometimes drags on for nearly 24 hours before competitions — can be physically challenging.

“My body doesn’t welcome it, but I do it to win,” Hong said.

Physicians working with professional e-sports teams recommend gamers rest 10 minutes with their eyes closed after every five matches, and never play in the same posture for more than two hours.