Online games are changing Korea

Online games are so popular in Korea that its having a major impact on the young generation.  Online game items sells at as much as $10K although most good items are in the more affordable hundreds to thousands of dollars.  Also, items for sex is not unheard of.

I couldn't find any fantasy and science fiction books in Korea few years ago, but they are now commonplace thanks to online games.  Most of the popular fantasy and science fiction books are written by Korean kids and young adults who learned English words like 'item', 'inventory', 'fireball', and 'levitate', not from the English dictionary, but from the games they played.

'Avatar', another online game word, is also well known in Korea.  The word now means 'a manga-style character representing a person online'.  You can get a free generic one or buy a custom drawn one to use on your cellphones, in online chatrooms, or online games itself as textures.  Many well-known Korean figures, from politicians to CEOs, now have their own avatar as part of their publicity.  This is just one of newly elected Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun's avatar.

Books, mangas, animations, clothes, songs, and hairstyles in Korea are all affected by online games.  Its just mind boggling.  I haven't figured out whether its some peculiar trait in Korean culture that made this happen or some duplicatable factors.  Spread of 'PC-Bang' (Korean style Internet Cafe) in China and LA suggests that it can be duplicated, although those places haven't gone as crazy as Korea.