According to Kalahari.com, South Africa’s video gaming culture is enjoying exponential growth while undergoing a revolution.
This upward trend is also in line with what the gaming industry as a whole appears to be enjoying – namely a global value of more than $65 billion and a generally positive outlook for the years ahead.
The company elaborated that video games are set to be the fastest growing form of mass media over the next few years, while the video game market is already estimated to be twice the size of recorded music globally.
These are statistics we have heard before; even more heartening is that at the end of 2011, the local industry surpassed the R1.7 billion mark; while also enjoying year on year growth, according to Ramone Pickover, category manager for games at Kalahari.com.
He explained that locally the growth of the industry had been synonymous with more gamers entering the scene, with the market split between casual and hardcore gamers.
Pickover continued that at around the 3.5 million strong mark, casual gamers have been the biggest part of the market for the past two years, while also emerging as key drivers for the industry two years ago.
Casual gamers play easily accessible games with a short lifespan, mainly online or via social media, as well as on mobile platforms. Wii, DS, 3DS
, PC, PSP
and PlayStation 2 are also considered popular gaming devices for casual gamers.
Casual becoming hardcore
However, even this is changing, with the popularity of hardcore gaming growing locally. “With the announcement of the Wii U
being launched at the end of 2012, and the lack of new PS2 content, South African gamers began to move to PS3, Xbox 360 and PC, which are considered to be tailored towards the 'hardcore' gaming marketing,” he continued.
Pickover commented that hardcore titles, such as Battlefield 3
and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
, were Kalahari.com’s top sellers titles in 2011. Additionally, the company has found that more women have begun to purchase both casual and hardcore games.
What’s more, broadband penetration is also playing a role in fostering the growth of hardcore games, as it enables an increasing number of gamers to take advantage of games’ multiplayer component, as well as download additional content for the games they purchase.
Pickover notes that there has also been a large increase in competitive gaming leagues in South Africa, operating on the same level as local sport teams/leagues with organised tournaments and competitions, where countries compete against each other.
This he considers a further sign of how gaming culture is growing in South Africa, while the need for high speed internet to participate in these tournaments online fuels the demand for cheaper, unlimited broadband access in SA.
To the point
Kalahari.com’s confidence in the growth of the gaming market locally is only underlined by the fact that the company intends to attend the forthcoming Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) taking place in Los Angeles, California from the 5th to the 7th of June.