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5 of the best K-pop x Gaming collaborations

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The gaming industry is an absolute financial juggernaut these days, with video game companies coming up with innovative ways to grow its worth and reach a wider audience. One such way has been riding on the phenomenon that is the Korean Wave – the dramatic rise of popularity for Korean culture around the world. It’s sparked many collaborative efforts between the big hitters of gaming and the K-pop sector in recent years. 

So, without further ado, let’s look at 5 of the best and most interesting K-pop x Gaming collaborations.

League of Legends x K/DA

League of Legends x K/DA
League of Legends x K/DA

Kicking off the list is Riot Games and their ventures with virtual girl group K/DA. Yep, those do exist.

Before today you might have thought K/DA was merely referring to your kills, deaths and assists stats in Call of Duty. Well K/DA also refers to a K-pop group composed of Champions from the League of Legends video game – Ahri, Akali, Evelynn and Kai’Sa. 

Ahri, Akali, Evelynn and Kai’Sa are merely avatars however, for the voices are provided by real singers. While Miyeon and Soyeon of (G)I-DLE, Madison Beer, and Jaira Burns, are the regular members providing those voices, other artists have taken on the roles too including a few ladies from TWICE. Their mix of styles ensures a brilliant blend of excellent vocals and terrific rap, all wrapped up together with a healthy dose of attitude.

Since  K/DA’s creation by Riot Games in 2018, the four-piece act have released numerous singles including ‘Pop/Stars’ and ‘The Baddest’. Both tracks reached number one in the World Digital Song Sales chart, thus bringing more attention to LoL. Additionally, they’ve been the focus of in-game cosmetic skins based on the band’s aesthetics in the music videos, hoping to get fans to spend extra cash to show off their love for them.

Having also featured in the Just Dance series, Teamlight Tactics and Legends of Runeterra, who knows where or when K/DA will show off their fierce attitude next. 

We could all use some MORE K/DA in our lives.

PUBG x NewJeans

PUBG x NewJeans
PUBG x NewJeans

Picture this: You’re scouring the battlefield with an assault rifle in hand when you see a vibrant playground in the distance. Upon closer inspection, there’s an actual music stage full of other players, dancing and enjoying life without a care in the world. That’s the NewJeans effect!

The folks behind the battle royale extravaganza PUBG: Battlegrounds certainly haven’t been complacent for the last seven years. With new maps, modes and other content regularly introduced, Krafton Inc have kept the game alive through various means. Their latest effort to engage its player base involves a partnership with the hottest K-pop girl group at the moment, NewJeans. It’s not just a few skins however, oh no, they came and totally took over. 

Much to the delight of their bunnies (the adorable name given to the fandom), the Taego map became a magical place for survivors to roam. There’s a fancy stage, music shops full of replica merchandise, jukeboxes, billboards and rabbits. On a wider scale, a host of costume sets, faceplates, sprays and weapon skins let gamers kit out their characters. Having the ability to enjoy a selection of NewJeans tracks, like ‘Ditto’ and ‘OMG’, while playing is just the icing on the cake. 

Don’t be Super Shy, go check it out before the crossover comes to an end.

Overwatch 2 x LE SSERAFIM

Overwatch 2 x LE SSERAFIM
Overwatch 2 x LE SSERAFIM

It’s one thing for artists to have in-game themed items, but LE SSERAFIM took it up a notch by having their very own limited-time game mode in Overwatch 2.

At the back end of 2023, girl group LE SSERAFIM released a music video for ‘Perfect Night’, a song celebrating nights out with friends. The girlies were in real-life form alongside animated fan-favourite Overwatch 2 heroes, who are racing to a LE SSERAFIM concert. It marked the start of a collaboration which even saw the group perform a thirty minute setlist at BlizzCon, featuring ‘ANTIFRAGILE’, ‘Unforgiven’ and more.

This all led to the inception of a new game mode, Concert Clash, which was available to play for a few weeks. Essentially, it was a 3v3 mode that had you battling for tickets to a fictional LE SSERAFIM concert. Not only did you have to destroy ticket machines in Busan and outscore the opponent, but you also had to contend with the AI controlled Fawksey James (Junkrat) stealing from both teams. Absolute carnage.

Of course, new cosmetics were on offer to purchase such as legendary skins Dazzle D.Va, Traysi Tracer, Kira-Kira Kiriko, BB Brigitte, and Slay Star Sombra. It wouldn’t be a themed event without a victory pose, an emote, a name card and a charm, providing more LE SSERAFIM-inspired incentives to encourage players to spend money. 

While it didn’t last long, at least the music video lives on for us to enjoy until LE SSERAFIM embark upon their next venture into gaming.

Fortnite x BTS

Fortnite x BTS
Fortnite x BTS

In a list full of insanely talented girl groups, it takes a special Korean boy group to be able to claim a spot. It’s none other than the Bangtan Boys, BTS!

From Goku and Batman, to John Cena and Lara Croft, the amount of crossovers there’s been in Fortnite is beyond belief. Rather than sticking to the trend and adding BTS into the game as skins though, EPIC GAMES prepared something a bit different in 2020. The K-pop group debuted a choreography MV for the smash hit single ‘Dynamite’, allowing people to watch it premiere on the socially-focused party royale island. 

That wasn’t all though, with a Dynamite-inspired emotes bundle available in exchange for V-Bucks in the Fortnite store to show support for the group. It must have gone down well because BTS received yet another emote in 2023 called Run It Down, featuring a snippet of music from the hip hop track ‘Run’. 

If there were still anyone who hadn’t heard of BTS, their involvement in the hugely popular Fortnite, as well as their stints in Just Dance and limited edition BT21 Among Us outfits, would have surely helped boost their popularity further. 

PUBG x BLACKPINK

PUBG x BLACKPINK
PUBG x BLACKPINK

Multiple Guinness World Records, countless music awards, honorary MBEs from King Charles, and endorsements galore with Adidas and Samsung, but BLACKPINK craved more. They wanted that Chicken Dinner!

BLACKPINK set the standard for gaming crossovers, with PUBG and PUBG Mobile benefiting massively from the partnership. People who had never picked up a controller before were downloading the mobile version in 2020 upon learning that Jisoo, Jennie, Lisa and Rosé occasionally play PUBG. Not to mention the fact that the themed event meant you could use the lightstick hammer as a weapon, listen to ‘Lovesick Girls’, and support them in-game to earn rewards for yourself.

During the initial collaboration, and numerous times since, they’ve turned crates pink, graffitied walls and introduced a cool helmet. A whole host of outfits have made an appearance too, enabling BLINKS (the fandom) the chance to dress up in what was worn in some of the official music videos. 

Still clearly unsatisfied, BLACKPINK released a music video titled ‘Ready for Love’, with all four members transformed into in-game characters. This was simply a taster as they then performed a virtual concert featuring a compilation of hits – ‘Ddu-Du Ddu-Du’, ‘Kill This Love’, ‘How You Like That’, and ‘Ready for Love’. According to reports, over 15 million players attended the concert, while the music video for ‘Ready for Love’ has breached the 80 million viewer mark.

The ongoing success of the PUBG x BLACKPINK partnership surely proves why we’ll undoubtedly see many more crossovers with the K-pop industry.

And there you have it – arguably 5 of the best K-pop x Gaming collaborations to date.

Feel free to leave your thoughts on them, share any others that didn’t feature on the list, or tell us what collaborations you hope to see in the future. 

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