PC bang

Last updated
PC bang
Korean name
PC방, 피시방 or 피씨방 [1]
PC房, 피시房, 피씨房
Revised Romanization pisibang or pissibang
McCune–Reischauer p'isibang or p'issibang

A PC bang (Korean: PC방; literally "PC room") is a type of LAN gaming center in South Korea, where patrons can play multiplayer computer games for an hourly fee. The typical cost for an hour of play ranges from 500 to 1500 KRW (approximately $0.44 to $1.30 USD in March 2017), with 1000 KRW per hour being the most common rate. Although the per capita penetration of personal computers and broadband internet access in South Korea is one on the highest in the world, PC bangs remain popular as they provide a social meeting place for gamers (especially school-aged gamers) to play together with their peers. Aside from the social aspect, PC bangs' ability to offer access to expensive and powerful high-end personal computers, designed specifically for video gaming, at a comparatively low price has also bolstered their popularity.

Korean language Language spoken in Korea

The Korean language is an East Asian language spoken by about 77 million people. It is a member of the Koreanic language family and is the official and national language of both Koreas: North Korea and South Korea, with different standardized official forms used in each country. It is also one of the two official languages in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture and Changbai Korean Autonomous County of Jilin province, China. It is also spoken in parts of Sakhalin, Ukraine and Central Asia.

Personal computer Computer intended for use by an individual person

A personal computer (PC) is a multi-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and price make it feasible for individual use. Personal computers are intended to be operated directly by an end user, rather than by a computer expert or technician. Unlike large costly minicomputer and mainframes, time-sharing by many people at the same time is not used with personal computers.

LAN gaming center business where one can use a computer connected over a LAN to other computers

A LAN Gaming Center is a business where one can use a computer connected over a LAN to other computers, primarily for the purpose of playing multiplayer computer games. Use of these computers or game consoles costs a fee, usually per hour or minute; sometimes one can have unmetered access with a pass for a day or month, etc. It may or may not serve as a regular café as well, with food and drinks being served. Many game centers have evolved in recent years to also include console gaming (Xbox, GameCube, PlayStation 2). Other centers offer computer repair and consulting, custom built computers, web design, programming classes or summer camps, and many other technology related services. Centers are starting to offer PS3s, Wiis and Xbox 360s that are playable in store.



The origin of PC bang starts with 전자 카페(electronic cafe) ('jeonja kape', which literally translates to 'electronic cafe') in South Korea opened in March 1988, which was then closed in 1991. The original creators of the junja kappeh, Ahn Sang-Soo and Geum Nu-Ree, launched this electronic cafe next to Hongik University. At the time, people were able to use two 16-bit computers, which were connected by a telephone line. However, it was only known to locals and not widely known, yet.

Hongik University

Hongik University, widely regarded as the best architecture and art school in South Korea, was founded by an independence activist in 1946. It is located in Mapo-gu district of central Seoul, South Korea with a second campus in Sejong. Hongik University has one of the most popular bachelor’s degree in art & design in South Korea. However the university also offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate programs, with its fine arts college of 11 departments and architecture department most renowned and prestigious in Korea. As of 2007, the university was home to 14,500 undergraduate students and 2,600 graduate students, and the undergraduate school is consisted of College of Fine Arts, College of Education, College of Engineering, College of Liberal Arts, College of Architecture, College of Law, and College of Economics and Business Administration. The graduate school provides research-based and practice-based programs in comprehensive fields including liberal arts, engineering, fine arts and design, education, economics, performing arts, urban planning, architecture, film and photography. The shortened term for Hongik University, "Hongdae," serves as a metonym for the neighborhood.

In computer architecture, 16-bit integers, memory addresses, or other data units are those that are 16 bits wide. Also, 16-bit CPU and ALU architectures are those that are based on registers, address buses, or data buses of that size. 16-bit microcomputers are computers in which 16-bit microprocessors were the norm.

Telephone line single-user circuit on a telephone communication system

A telephone line or telephone circuit is a single-user circuit on a telephone communication system. This is the physical wire or other signaling medium connecting the user's telephone apparatus to the telecommunications network, and usually also implies a single telephone number for billing purposes reserved for that user. Telephone lines are used to deliver landline telephone service and Digital subscriber line (DSL) phone cable service to the premises. Telephone overhead lines are connected to the public switched telephone network.

In April 1994, the first Internet cafe was opened. Jung Min-Ho founded the first public Internet cafe, named BNC, in 서초구 (Seocho District). It gained immense popularity, a first for such type of cafe. From 1988 to 1993, the press had labeled such cafes as "electronic cafe"; however, after the opening of BNC, labels such as "modem cafe", "network cafe", and "cyber cafe" have been introduced by the press.


The most played games in PC bangs are known in the industry as massively multiplayer online role-playing games, in which more than 100,000 people around the globe can play at the same time. [2] PC bangs rose to popularity following the release of the PC game StarCraft in 1998. [3] South Korea has developed a thriving computer industry with the Internet use reaching over 50% of the population. As of 2002, 25 million citizens are using the Internet, and 14.4 million Korean homes are equipped with Internet access. [4] Accompanying this high rate of home Internet access it is the estimated 25,000 PC bangs that exist as of 2011, while in 1997 there were only around 100 PC bangs in South Korea. [5] Many popular Korean multiplayer games provide players with incentives which encourage them to play from a PC bang. For example, the Nexon games Kart Rider and BnB reward players with bonus "Lucci" — the games' virtual currencies — when they log on from a PC bang.

StarCraft is a military science fiction media franchise, created by Chris Metzen and James Phinney and owned by Blizzard Entertainment. The series, set in the beginning of the 26th century, centers on a galactic struggle for dominance among four species—the adaptable and mobile Terrans, the ever-evolving insectoid Zerg, the powerfully enigmatic Protoss, and the "god-like" Xel'Naga creator race—in a distant part of the Milky Way galaxy known as the Koprulu Sector. The series debuted with the video game StarCraft in 1998. It has grown to include a number of other games as well as eight novelizations, two Amazing Stories articles, a board game, and other licensed merchandise such as collectible statues and toys.

Nexon Co., Ltd. is a Korean video game publisher that specializes in online games for PC and mobile. It maintains over 80 titles. Nexon was founded in Seoul, South Korea in 1994 by Kim Jung Ju (김정주) and Jake Song. In 2005, the company moved its headquarters from Seoul, South Korea to Tokyo, Japan.


Although PC bangs are used by all ages and genders, they are most popular with male gamers in their teens and twenties. [6] Throughout the day, the demographics of the PC room change. Most PC rooms are open 24 hours. In the mornings, the primary type of user is an adult male, between 30 and 50. During the afternoons, young males come in groups between 1-3 pm. [7] During this time is when PC bangs are the noisiest. Around dinner time, teenagers and young adults come in. They usually play online card, arcade, or MMORPG games. Competitive game players (ages 18 and up) start coming in at 8pm and usually stay for several hours or all night. [7] League of Legends , Lineage II , Sudden Attack and Starcraft are the most popular games for late-night players. [8]

<i>League of Legends</i> Multiplayer online battle arena video game

League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena video game developed and published by Riot Games for Microsoft Windows and macOS. The game follows a freemium model and is supported by microtransactions, and was inspired by the Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne mod, Defense of the Ancients.

<i>Lineage II</i> video game

Lineage II is a massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) for Microsoft Windows, the second game in the Lineage series. It is a prequel to Lineage, and is set 150 years before the earlier game. It has become very popular since its October 1, 2003 launch in South Korea, reporting 1,000,918 unique users during the month of March 2007. To date, the game has been played by more than 14 million users, mostly based in Asia.

<i>Sudden Attack</i> video game

Sudden Attack is a free-to-play multiplayer first-person shooter online game developed by the South Korean company GameHi On December 2, 2013, Nexon America CEO Min Kim announced plans to discontinue Sudden Attack North American service. Nexon America terminated Sudden Attack on January 29, 2014.

Social aspect

PC bang industry has created a culture that is participated in by most youth in South Korea. Gamers have turned the PC bang into a socialization facility, becoming a huge part in the lives of the Korean youth today. Many students have suggested that the PC-Bang provides a stress free, fun and youth dominated environment where groups of friends can meet and engage in a cooperative game. They have suggested that the games themselves may promote a social environment by promoting the development of squads or groups of players to play the game more effectively. [9] [10]


With computer and Internet access so readily available to the public, both at home and at the PC-Bangs, gaming addiction has become a concern. The consequences of several hours spent at the PC bang gaming and the strong need to compete causes increased addiction and displacement problems of the Korean PC-Bang users. Biggest displacements due to addiction include sleep, school, homework, promises to meet with friends and time spent with friends. [9] [10] As part of its efforts to battle online game addictions among teenagers, South Korea introduced a law that prohibits those aged 16 and under from playing online games between midnight and 6 a.m. [11] The law mainly targets PC online games as well as consoles with online features. It allows a two-year grace period for smartphone and tablet PC games before reconsidering if they should be included, as online game addictions on those platforms are not currently considered a serious problem. [12]

Video game addiction addiction to computer and video games

Video game addiction (VGA) has been suggested by some in the medical community as a distinct behavioral addiction characterized by excessive or compulsive use of computer games or video games that interferes with a person's everyday life. Video game addiction may present itself as compulsive gaming, social isolation, mood swings, diminished imagination, and hyper-focus on in-game achievements, to the exclusion of other events in life. Such disorders can be diagnosed when an individual engages in gaming activities at the cost of fulfilling daily responsibilities or pursuing other interests, and without regard for the negative consequences.

Industry impact

South Korean PC bangs have been identified as the source of a large number of players that use software tools to cheat in the video game Overwatch , effectively making play on Asian servers for the game unenjoyable for others. The game's publisher Blizzard Entertainment has arranged deals with many PC bangs to allow anyone using the site to play Overwatch without purchasing the game as part of the hourly fee. Because of the competitive and youthful nature of the average PC bang user, many of these players use tools like aimbots to gain the upper edge in Overwatch matches as to show off to friends. While Blizzard does ban accounts from using these types of hacks, PC bang users can quickly make a new Battle.net account and jump back into the game, using the same tools. Blizzard reports handling thousands of such bans a day from South Korea. [13] From February 2017 onward, Blizzard requires Korean players to log into a Battle.net account as to other play Overwatch and other Blizzard games. As creating a Battle.net account requires unique personal information including difficult-to-spoof Korean social security numbers, Blizzard anticipates this will limit creation of throwaway accounts and alleviate the situation. [14]

See also


  1. "PC방" is the usual transcription in South Korea. "피시방" and "피씨방" are transcription of exclusive use of Hangul. The former corresponds to South Korean standard orthography for writing loan words (외래어 표기법), but many South Koreans wrote as the latter when using Hangul exclusively.
  2. Demick, B. (2005, Sep 22). Online overdose: South korea frets about online gaming addiction. The Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/240882962
  3. "The Emergence of PC Bangs in a Dedicated Gaming Place". Internationalexperts. Archived from the original on 2016-01-26.
  4. Yang, S. J. (2002). 56 percent of Korean use Internet at least once a month. The Korean Herald. Retrieved August 11, 2013, from http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/SITE/data/html_dir/2002/01/16/200201160051.asp
  5. Larissa Hjorth. Games and Gaming: An Introduction to New Media. Bloomsbury, 2011
  6. Kim, Tae-gyu (2007-07-23). "`PC Bang' Emerges as New Way of Promotion". The Korea Times . Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  7. 1 2 Wohn, Yvette (2010-07-08). "The pc room (pc bang) culture". Play as Life. Archived from the original on 2013-10-18.
  8. "Most played games in PC Bangs". Gamemetrics.
  9. 1 2 Stewart,K., & Choi, H. P. (2003). PC-Bang (Room) culture: A study of Korean college students' private and public use of computers and the Internet. Trends in communication, 11(1), 63-79. Retrieved from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1207/S15427439TC1101_05
  10. 1 2 Stewart, K. (2004). Informatization of a nation: A Case Study of South Korea's Computer Gaming and PC-Bang Culture (unpublished master thesis). Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia. Retrieved http://summit.sfu.ca/item/8656
  11. Marlowe, C. (2011, November 28). Korea slaps curfew on gamers. Retrieved from http://www.dmwmedia.com/news/2011/11/28/korea-slaps-curfew-on-gamers
  12. S. korea implements law to combat teenagers computer game addictions. (2011, November 21). Retrieved from http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-11/21/c_131260602.htm
  13. D'antansio, Cecila (February 2, 2017). "Why Overwatch Hacking Is Such A Big Problem In Korea". Kotaku . Retrieved February 2, 2017.
  14. Ashcroft, Brian (February 14, 2017). "How Blizzard Is Combating Korea's Overwatch Hacking Problem". Kotaku . Retrieved February 14, 2017.

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