Market Intelligence
Toys and Games South Africa

South Africa’s e-sports and gaming

The youth population is critical to the future of gaming and esports. Half of the population on the African continent will be under the age of 24 by 2050. 

Gaming and esports in South Africa is moving on an upward trajectory. Most gamers are attracted to the “free to play” revenue model with downstream in app purchases. It seems the world economy through a gaming 7–12 year old’s eyes is currently based on either MineCoins or V-bucks!  

ABSA one of the major retail banks in South Africa has just announced a partnership with Africa Cyber Gaming League and rAge Expo called the ABSA Gaming Festival with many tournaments to compete in. With prize money totally just under $6500 (don’t snigger) it is one of the first times a retail bank has entered this world (with many mainstream sports sponsorships such as running, golf and soccer totaling in the millions), the fact that they are sticking their toe in this virtual realm, could be a sign of things to come. 

Many gaming consoles (mobile, PC, Xbox and PS) are available in South Africa but are susceptible to the USD/ZAR exchange rate which makes consumers exceptionally price sensitive. South Africa along with the world, is also experiencing stock and component shortages and logistical challenges due to the pandemic. This makes in app or mobile gaming very attractive and available to the majority of the population who own smart phones. With South African data costs decreasing and increased infrastructure such as fiber to home and free access to Wi-Fi in some of the poorer communities the digital divide is slowly closing. 

The African region’s young people (0-24 years old) will account for around 50% of the population by 2050. This group will be critical to the future of gaming on the continent. South Africa is already starting to see international companies bring the e-sports world to the next generation of 6-18yrs and amateurs by combining education and tournaments in a harmless and inclusive environment. Some junior schools are running interschool gaming competitions (such as Minecraft) with success. 

For more information on the e-sports or gaming sector and ways to enter the South African market please contact Kirsten Bell on Kirsten.Bell@trade.gov  

04/25/2022