At the start of 2020, as the world around us came to an abrupt halt, one sector found itself catapulted into the limelight.
With limited mobility and more free time, more and more people around the world were using the joystick – some even for the first time – making the gaming industry one of the fastest growing forms of entertainment. faster in the last 24 months.
Today, this thriving mega-dollar industry is changing the game and shaping a future that is both inclusive and rewarding.
Pause: a window on an inclusive world
Many have taken to the game to connect with the outside world. As nations, communities, and social gatherings were put on hold, the game offered a window into another world. Some approached him to support their physical and emotional well-being, others reached out to pass the time or learn a new skill, some simply to stay connected and be part of a vibrant community. The uncertain timeline of the pandemic has brought many newbies to the game and helped the industry grow by leaps and bounds.
This growth and transformation of the industry has resulted in a new player profile, shattering the old myth that gamers are predominantly male and isolated from social life. Today, there are no gender or age barriers to becoming a video game fanatic and more and more people are playing for relaxation, entertainment and stress reduction.
For example, a global report by Alienware and Researchscape called “State of Gaming” showed that most gamers are dynamic and balanced. Players not only focus on high-level play, but also prioritize the relationship with other players. One in four gamers surveyed have made new friends (26%), bonded with gamers (25%) and bonded through video games (25%), proving that video games can unite people in incredibly unique ways. .
Play: Dynamic Industry Growth
In South Africa, the gaming culture continues to grow and is proving to be a significant market. Across the continent, the industry is expected to register a CAGR of 12% between 2021 and 20261. As one of the largest video game markets in Africa, the value of the video game market in South Africa is expected to reach R5.4 billion by 2023, up from R3.5 billion in 2018.2
The local gaming and esports community also continues to proliferate with local streamers attracting loyal fans and building a tight-knit group of dedicated subscribers. Bravado Gaming, sponsored by Dell Gaming, Alienware and Intel has seen it up close and personal. Over the past 15 years, they have continued to innovate and build a philosophy around African champions. From representing South Africa and Africa at multiple competitive events around the world to creating a first of its kind in the region with a 9 person team of streamers and content creators. As the path to professional gaming and content creation becomes an increasingly widespread phenomenon, along with such a boom in demand for gaming content in all its forms, Bravado has been able to capture the hearts of not only fanatics , but also of the occasional player. As the industry grows, we can expect many more regional gamer and streamer talents to emerge alongside bespoke South African gaming content.
Fast forward: loading game…
So how will the sector, which has been transformed, particularly over the last 24 months, evolve in the years to come? The industry is expected to go further and accelerate its growth in the near future.
With around 37% of South Africa’s population under the age of 35 and with around 11 million gamers in the country1, the industry is set to go mainstream and see its use move beyond virtual arcades and into classrooms, businesses, and ultimately define the future of work.
Play in education will help address learning difficulties, support collaboration, and create truly impactful and inclusive knowledge-sharing environments. Over the next decade, organizations will empower workers by cultivating real-time collaboration practices embedded in games, coding, and distributed communities. Skills such as strategic thinking, hand-eye coordination, response time, teamwork and leadership abilities, honed through play, will be highly valued in the professional world.
Locally, coding gaming technologies will not only open up job opportunities in a digital economy, but also nurture budding young talent and future global champions. Additionally, this widespread use will see the industry leverage fast-growing technologies such as 5G, Edge, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. With the amount of data generated, the game will become a heavy user of these technologies. From the latest processors to powerful discrete graphics cards, they make every experience more intense and real. Today’s gaming laptops and desktops can render the incredible visuals that many modern games are known for. However, new games are constantly pushing the boundaries of beauty and complexity and cutting-edge games require state-of-the-art machines designed with the specific and demanding needs of the gaming audience in mind.
The future of gamers is here. The stereotype we once had about gamers is now a thing of the past. Today, a player is dynamic, social and prosperous. And just like adrenaline-pumping video game technology, the regional gamer profile is constantly innovating – and “charging”.