PC Cafes to Revive Due to New Games

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PC Cafes are set to be active again due to ‘Battleground’ and ‘StarCraft: Remastered’.

According to Gametrics, which is an organization that analyzes PC Cafes, total hours of play for Battleground at PC Cafes during a month of July were 201,700 hours. During the same period, total hours of play for StarCraft were 184,600 hours.

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Compared to a month of June, hours of use of StarCraft increased by 7.18% while Battleground entered a ranking for the first time.

Battleground is a PC game developed by Bluehole and can be played through a global PC game platform called STEAM, which is operated by Valve. It is a game that has 100 players battling each other for ‘survival’ at a same area. StarCraft: Remastered is a HD version of Blizzard’s StarCraft. One was able to play it at a PC Café in South Korea starting from the 31st of July. It will be released officially on the 15th of August.

PC Cafes grew together with South Korea’s online game industries in 2000s. However number of PC Cafes was reduced around 2010 as PC Café markets became saturated and as mobile games became mainstream.

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According to Korea Creative Content Agency, number of PC Cafes in South Korea reduced from 50,000 in 2013 to 47,000 in 2014 and to 43,000 in 2015.

“There is a chance that number of people who visit PC Cafes in order to play particular games start to increase as distribution rate of desktops for games has reduced in households.” said a representative for a game developer. This indicates that people prefer C Cafes more than playing at home whenever they want to play games such as Battleground or StarCraft that is more enjoyable playing with friends.

Factors that cause conflicts can occur whenever new popular games are added to PC Cafes. One can access Battleground after he or she purchases Battleground through Steam for about $28.47 (32,000 KRW). A problem rose when few PC Cafes recently shared Steam accounts for Battleground with many gamers as this violates terms and agreements between Steam and Battleground.

Bluehole is currently examining ways to restrict PC Cafes from sharing accounts. It is likely that it will choose a method that permanently bans corresponding accounts from having access whenever they are seen shared by PC Cafes and gamers.

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On the other hand, there are indications that there will be a controversy of double charging regarding StarCraft: Remastered. While Blizzard sells StarCraft: Remastered to general public, it receives separate fees from owners of affiliated PC Cafes.

An individual can play StarCraft: Remastered without having to purchase it by going to an affiliated PC Café. However a problem rises when an individual purchases this game. Even when individuals who purchase StarCraft: Remastered for $14.68 (16,500 KRW) play it at PC Cafes, owners of those PC Cafes have to pay Blizzard $0.22 per hour.

Owners of these PC Cafes are requesting solutions from Blizzard regarding double charging with Korea Internet PC Café Association at the center. However if they see that this issue is not progressing, they are also willing to file a lawsuit at Fair Trade Commission.

Staff Reporter Kim, Siso | siso@etnews.com

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