South Korea has already chosen its 19th president in an apparent landslide after an election cycle that was superbly pro-gaming.
The leading candidate from the Democratic Party of Korea, Moon Jae-in has been all but confirmed as the next president. Although the votes are still being tallied, the trailing candidates have conceded and addressed their supporters through press conferences. Moon was the favorite candidate among younger voters, a demographic that many candidates attempted to tap into.
On April 14th, Moon was invited to a forum hosted by the Innovative Digital Economy Council where the candidate answered questions from industry experts and representatives about his views on the gaming industry, This is Game’s Kim Seung-hyun reported. When asked about his views on gaming regulations in Korea, Moon said he will undo the negative perceptions of gaming and, once elected, repeal all unfair regulations.
“Korea was once a powerhouse in both the gaming industry and in esports, due to the regulations put forth by the negative perceptions that liken gaming to drug addiction we have lost our momentum and lost the lead to China,” he said. “If we can change that negative prejudice and the various regulations, I believe the gaming industry can be a source of growth for Korea. We will need to change those views that look at gaming like drugs first.”
Moon advocated the use of ‘Negative Regulation,’ which allows the industry to act freely in all aspects that are not expressly forbidden by the law. He also appealed to industry members during the forum by pointing out Jeon Byung-heon, acting chief executive of the Korean eSports Association, and Strategic Planning Director of Moon’s presidential campaign.
With his pro-gaming message, a collection of industry representatives and experts pledged their support for Moon on May 1st, according to Maeil Business News Korea’s Choi Jin-seung, including the directors of groups such as the Internet PC Culture Association and the Korean Society for Computer games. Moon was the clear favorite for many in the gaming industry, favoring him over the other candidates who have also had pro-gaming platforms.
Moon was not the only candidate that also appealed to the Innovative Digital Economy Council, as three other candidates have also shared their thoughts on repealing legal restrictions. This included the People’s Party’s Ahn Chul-soo, who was also a contender during this election. Candidate Shim Sang-jeong has gone as far to call regulations like the Shutdown Law “an invasion of privacy.” However it seems that Moon’s position was the most solidified, as the other candidates failed to gain as much support from the industry as Moon did.
After the impeachment of previous president Park Geun-hye, due to allegation of mass corruption, a surge of younger potential voters joined the Korean political discussion. The general perception was that the older voters of South Korea were responsible for Parks’ election, and a lack of young voters further swung the past election in her favor. Younger voters used social media to participate in the political discussion, urging other young voters to go out and vote for the candidate of their choosing.
In the midst of the political craze, LCK teams and professional players were also vocal, showing that they have indeed voted in this presidential election, and urged their followers to do so as well. Pictures of a small stamp on their hands that proves that they have taken part in either early voting or election day on the 9th, have been popping up regularly, as well as entire teams such as the ROX Tigers, going to Twitter to announce that the entire team has also voted in the election.
With more potential younger voters in the pool, it meant that many of the candidates needed to also tap into the same voter base. Justice Party’s Shim has used a parody of Overwatch’s “Play of the Game” reel as a way to reach out to younger voters, and she certainly reach a high rate of exposure, as the video caught in the west as well. Previously Moon used a StarCraft: Brood War map as part of his campaign, although not impressive, but still showed effort on the side of Moon to connect with many young voters.