South Korean gamers – are they athletes that earn hundreds of thousands of dollars?

South Korea is the world’s most “wired” country with around 70 per cent of the population hooked up to a high speed internet connection. This reality has spawned a whole new type of sportsman: the “e athlete”.Professional computer gamers can now earn hundreds of thousands of dollars playing to packed audiences.However, a 2006 government survey suggested addiction to computer gaming is a significant and growing problem: ten people have actually died after exceptionally long stints in front of the computer screen.Julian Pettifer investigates the extent of this addiction in Korea – and asks how the Korean government is persuading young people to turn off their computer screens.This edition of BBC Radio 4’s Crossing Continents was broadcast on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 1102 GMT. It will be repeated on Monday, 7 January 2008 at 2030 GMT.See news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/crossing_continents/7162941.stm to listen to or download the programme.

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