Wednesday, April 10, 2019

More on the decline of PC Bangs (Internet Cafes)

The Korea Joongang Daily today reports on the decline of both PC Bangs (Rooms) and Norae-bangs (Korean style Karaoke rooms).  As readers of this blog will know, I've posted frequently on this topic over the years.   Based on data from the national tax service, the Korea Joongang Daily reported that Korea had 10,480 PC Rooms as of January 2019.  (click on the graphic for a full-size version).  This figure caught my eye because I had recently updated a bar chart showing the number of PC Bangs in Korea for inclusion in my forthcoming book (with Myung Oh), Digital Development in Korea:  Lessons for a Sustainable World.  That chart, also shown here, indicated that the number of PC Bangs had decreased to 10,655 by 2016, the last year for which data were available from the Korea Creative Content Agency.
Clearly, the pattern from 2016 through January of 2019 is one of the total number of PC  Bangs leveling off.   Given developments in the game industry, the growth of e-sports and the rising popularity of mobile games it may be that 10,000 or so PC rooms represents the number that are needed to meet continued consumer preferences in the Korean marketplace.

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