Government regulations are holding back the growth of the South African gaming industry, according to Interactive entertainment South Africa (Iesa) chairman Nicholas Hall.
Speaking to Fin24, Hall said the video game entertainment industry is “the largest entertainment industry in the world,” and that government regulation is stifling the growth of South African game development.
Hall stated that the problem is exacerbated by the confusing regulatory practice surrounding game development in South Africa.
No-one actually knows how to deal with games. We don’t have protection in terms of the Copyright Act. The fundamental basis of how the assets that we create should be protected is non-existent.
The department of trade and industry doesn’t know if they should be looking after us, or if it should be the department of arts and culture. The department of arts and culture also doesn’t know and sports and recreation thinks that they should be there as well because, you know, we’re games.
This lack of clarity regarding the governing rules of video game development has rendered the South African gaming industry unattractive to investors, which drastically limits the growth of the sector.
A key factor hindering the growth of the industry is the FPB (Film and Productions Board) regulations.
The regulations state that all published content must be classified, and impose heavy restrictions on local game developers compared to the freedom international game developers enjoy.