South Africa’s tech scene has been on the rise for the best part of a decade. With start-ups popping up across both South Africa and Africa as a whole, consumers are getting access to new innovations all the time. Thanks to major companies like Facebook investing in the region, the number of tech companies and those working in the industry has boomed.
According to a 2016 report at www.gsma.com, there were 314 active tech hubs across the continent in 2016. With Africans now more switched on to technology than ever before, it comes as little surprise that people are clamouring for the latest products. Indeed, the 2017 deal between Chinese mobile maker Huawei and WorldRemit was a perfect example of this. With Africans wanting a more convenient way to transfer money via their mobiles, the two companies linked up to create a product perfectly suited to the market.
Tech Boom Sparks Gaming Revolution
As the tech scene has evolved, so too has South Africa’s gaming industry. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) surveyed the market back in 2012 and noted that companies in the country had generated R2.2 billion in 2012. The report went on to predict that revenue would top R3.3 billion by 2017. This analysis was almost bang on the money as the numbers at www.statista.com have since shown the gaming in South Africa was worth R3.072 billion in 2017. Based on the evidence, it’s clear to see that gaming has now become one of the most popular pastimes in South Africa. So, what are people playing?
In an interview on MyBroadband.co.za VS Gaming CEO Cambridge Mokanyane, MyBroadband found that majority of competitive gamers in South Africa play Dota 2. The multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game is one of the biggest titles in the eSports area. Developed by Valve Corporation and available for PC and Mac devices, the game pits two teams of five against each other in a battle for supremacy. As well as engaging graphics, the game is a true test of tactics and cooperation. Beyond Dota 2, Mokanyane sees League of Legends, Battlefield 4, Call of Duty and Hearthstone as the other go-to games for SA players.
A Complete Spectrum of Gaming Options
Away from the competitive gaming scene, online casino titles have also started to make an impact. Table games like blackjack and roulette are starting to gain prominence, but it’s slots that are the most numerous. In fact, this growing interest in slots is a two-way relationship. As much as South Africans love spinning, developers have also taken inspiration from the continent. At www.mega-moolah.online, the industry’s most lucrative slot is a prime example of this. In addition to paying record sums of money, this game is set on the plains of Africa. This vibe is one that’s likely to evolve as developers at the likes of Microgaming target new trends and playing preferences.
Looking into the future, virtual reality is likely to become the next frontier for SA gamers and gaming companies. A new VR experience designed to test whether people can work well at heights is one of the latest innovations to come out of the country. Developed by augmented and reality design company Sea Monster, the game can monitor a user’s heart rate as they ascend a variety of different buildings. Although the product has practical implications as a training tool, it’s an example of how South African developers aren’t missing the VR revolution. In the world at large, TechRadar.com ranks Beat Saber, Robo Recall and Echo Arena as the top VR games of 2018.
Could VR Be the Breakout Innovation for SA?
These titles are almost certainly set to be hits in South Africa, but what can homegrown developers produce? That’s perhaps the most intriguing prospect for the country’s tech scene. As the data shows, there is a clear desire to not only use modern technology but work with it to create new innovations. When you combine this with a growing love for games, VR gaming may be the sector where SA makes its mark on the world stage.