There are around 9,000 PC rooms in South Korea alone as gaming cafes continue to prove incredibly popular. And growing alongside that number is the amount of Steam-registered cafes, making up around 30 percent of all internet cafes in South Korea.
Steam-registered cafes, for context, have computers with a select Steam library that you can play for free. It's part of the aptly-titled Steam PC Cafe program: "Bring the ultimate gaming platform into your establishment or entertainment space… Offering a growing library of commercially-licensed Steam and SteamVR titles, and a robust set of tools to manage them, the Steam PC Cafe program can help power up any kind of gaming space – ranging from school clubs to internet cafes, and everything in between."
At these cafes, the most-played games are Destiny 2, Left 4 Dead 2, Rust, The Forest, Ark: Survival Evolved, Naraka: Blade Point, and Terraria. And in total, there are now over 3,000 Steam-registered internet cafes in the country, an increase of 1,000 since May 2021. This means that only two in three are non-Steam PC rooms.
Despite the still-ongoing pandemic, internet cafes have kept afloat in South Korea. They initially saw a 25 percent decline in hours played but the number has since stabilised as the country managed to also reduce the infection rate. And what's more, PC cafes were kept open during the beginning of the pandemic, meaning that people were still visiting to game and socialise (thanks, Venture Beat).
And now, more and more cafes are opening with nearly a third being Steam-registered, letting you try out a curated library for free. All the while, Steam continues to expand this program's library, adding more and more games for people to try out.
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