The South African gaming market is experiencing strong growth given the country’s developing state; speaking to Finweek, NAG Magazine editor and rAge organiser Michael James has chimed-in on the state of the market and the habits of SA gamers.
“We’re an emerging and high focus market because the American and European markets are saturated,” says Michael James.
“We’re a growth area, especially with our upcoming economic empowerment situation, but we’re a bit more at the low end of the scale compared to the international market. However, there are consoles that go right down through all the scales of financing. You’ll find that a lot of people will get introduced into gaming.”
James also elaborated on the diversity of the market, saying that female gamers are becoming increasingly prevalent in the demographics.
“Gamers are generally between 18 and 32. The older-generation gamers are between 45 and 50, but they are still gamers. The younger kids are more into tablets and mobiles, but a lot of them do play consoles. iPad is a big thing,” said James.
In terms of spending, SA gamers are willing to fork out money for quality products, much like other markets such as sport.
“No cost is too high for gamers to get a good gaming experience – it’s a flat screen TV, it’s 3D and high-speed Internet and all those things that go with that hobby. The hobby requires intelligence, and intelligence generally means money. If you’re smart, you’re better off. That’s the type of person you’re talking about,” James explains.
James also gave some insight into the racial demographics of SA gamers, saying that a greater diversity is being seen. In addition, it was also said that PC gamers are shifting to consoles.
“We’ve seen a huge growth in consoles over the years, but PC will always be around because it sort of suits the style of the country, like a Wild West type of vibe,” said James.
“We’ve always been hard done by here, and we’ve had to make our own way, the PC way, because that was what was available here. Stuff we couldn’t get here, you could get by pirating it before, which is why PC has a stronger foothold here. It’s the same in Russia, where consoles sales are also picking up. The console manufacturers are focusing on our countries, because of the growth in consoles,” said James.
“Our limitation is bandwidth. Everything is going digital and online and we have a problem here. The masses in the country, who are slowly getting financial freedom and power, aren’t going to have access to 10Mb fibre lines at any point in the near future.”
James also added that gamers are a tough crowd to please, but will remain dedicated to their hobby.
“[Gamers] are a very fussy, loyal, brand conscious bunch of people. Once you have them, you have their loyalty. It’s a lot more valuable than advertising to the masses, because these guys are brand ambassadors for you. That’s the level of people we’re talking about, because they’re smarter,” concluded James.