Overwatch’s popularity in South Korea plummets amid content drought

dva ow busanActivision Blizzard

Overwatch has been a staple in the South Korean gaming scene since its release in 2016, but is its presence in the Asian country fading?

In South Korea, PC Cafes, otherwise known as PC Bangs, are a huge part of the country’s culture when it comes to gaming and are usually a reflection of what much of the younger population is playing at any given time.

For years, games like League of Legends and Overwatch have topped the charts for online games in these cafes, evident in the powerful professional scenes each of those games have in the country.

But, as brought up in a Reddit post, the numbers for Overwatch have slipped recently, yielding to other online titles.

Sombra in Busan with D.Va billboardYouTube/PJ Rascals
Overwatch’s influence in South Korea is a two-way street, as there are many odes to the country in Overwatch.

Overwatch’s History in South Korea

According to a chart shared to r/Competitiveoverwatch, Overwatch is South Korea’s 6th most popular online game title in PC Cafes, coming in at 4.8% of players. League of Legends, as it has for some time, stands tall at #1, with almost 50% of players (46.54%).

These stats seem to come from a Korean website called Gametrics, which logs usage in PC bangs in SK. According to Gametrics, League of Legends has held the top spot for 163 weeks, over three years.

At one time, Overwatch actually overtook League of Legends for the top spot at just over 30%, according to an article released by Polygon which pulled from the same website. This was back in June of 2016. This means that number has dropped over 25% over the game’s lifespan.

Since then, Overwatch has had its troubles while struggling to produce consistent content in the lead-up to Overwatch 2. Yet, despite some community sentiments, it has continued to have a player base that is much higher than many think. In 2021, the game has averaged over 5 million players each month, according to Active Player.

Yet, despite this, fans of the hero shooter have much to be hopeful for in the game’s future. OW2 is coming soon, with a sneak peek coming at the 2021 Grand Finals. It will be interesting to see if the sequel can return the franchise to its former glory in Korean cafes once it finally releases to the public.