Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Match fixing scandal rocks Korean gaming scene

I guess this mean Starcraft is officially a big-time sport...at least in Korea?

The largest scandal in e-sports history is currently unfolding in Korea, with revelations that a number of current pro gamers are involved with match set-ups and illegal betting.

While the gamers are un-named at this point, the story is said to touch many A-list StarCraft celebrities – including sAviOr, Ja Mae Yoon – one of the best-known and most successful players of all time.

At this stage, we hear that various pro gamers have been found intentionally losing matches, as well as leaking their team’s replay files to illegal gambling groups.

The article als includes this interesting bit about the Korean legal system:

As part of Korea’s human rights laws, it is illegal to release criminals’ names – they can only be implied – which means that as the police have now gotten involved, we may never be officially told who was involved in this drama. Unofficially, however, it’s only a matter of time before fingers are pointed and pro gamers find themselves without a job.

I know Japan has a notoriously high (99.8%?) conviction rate, so it's surprising that (South) Korea affords so much protection to the prosecuted. (Not trying to conflate Japan and Korea, but I know they share a similar cultural and legal [I think?] heritage.) I'm guessing it has something to do with East Asian shame culture – prison is one thing, but the shame of having gone to prison is probably worse.

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