There has been a consistent worry throughout the Korean LoL scene about when a player will have to do their mandatory military service, or conscription, and how that will impact their gaming career. Many thought that the Asian Games would provide an exemption if the players received a gold medal, but that was proven to not be the case for esports athletes
. There is still hope for our legacy players within the LCK.
On November 1st, the New York Times reveled
that “the failure to offer alternative forms of civilian service to conscientious objectors was unconstitutional, and gave the government until the end of next year to introduce the option of performing alternative services, like working in prisons or fire stations”. The article further explains that religious beliefs are also an acceptable avenue to deny military service. Now South Koreans will have two grounds to deny military service, through consciousness (morals) or religious allegiance. This has large implications for the esports landscape, such as LoL where South Koreans often top the rankings of best players worldwide. This has large implications on such high profile players as Faker, Impact and Mata as they continue to age, they might be able to continue their professional career if the alternative service is not too demanding. Other titles such as Overwatch and PUBG have several South Koreans which play to the highest competitive levels as well.
The obligations of conscription may no longer hang over the heads of many young South Koreans as they pursue professional gaming careers and although they may be required to conform to another contribution to the state, it is unforeseen whether it will be as demanding as military service.
Izento has been a writer for the LoL scene since Season 7, and has been playing the game since Season 1. Follow him on Twitter at @ggIzento for more League content.
Images courtesy of Lolesports Flickr.