Forbes has a long article on how cheap, ubiquitous broadband Internet access– 70% of homes have broadband, 3G phones are all the rage, and PC baangs are as common as cafes and used bookstores in Berkeley. One of the most interesting effects has been in politics:
Koreans realized they had entered a new era after the last presidential elections. By 11 a.m. on Dec. 19, exit poll results showed that the iconoclastic Roh Moo Hyun, 56, a 2-to-1 favorite among youth, was losing the election. His supporters hit the chat rooms to drum up support. Within minutes more than 800,000 e-mails were sent to mobiles to urge supporters to go out and vote. Traditionally apathetic young voters surged to the polls and, by 2 p.m., Roh took the lead and went on to win the election. A man with little support from either the mainstream media or the nation’s conglomerates sashayed into office on an Internet on-ramp. The traditional Confucian order had been flipped upside down, and a symbolic transfer of power from elders to youth took place.
(See also this description of the event, from David Weinberg.)
I’d known that online games were huge there (Wired wrote about it a while ago), but “three 24-hour cable channels devoted to online gaming news”? News to me.