eSports in Africa is now familiar with a lot of people, according to a new survey, there are more than 3 millions fans in Africa with half of them being in South Africa. The new trend has seen wide spread across the sub saharan Africa with its competitions in famous competitive games taking place in South Africa, a step away from being an official recognized sport, with some Universities in the country seeing students work hard to be pro players. Allow me to focus on South Africa, where this form of entertainment is already a norm just like cinemas and TV.South Africa is once again a leading force in technology related fields, supporting eSports before it saw the Africa spread by organizing competitions and training professionals sponsored by big companies and cheered by their fans. Similar event are taking place in the country this coming week, where hundreds of fans are expected to attend.The major factors behind the growth of eSports include the popularity of new platforms for viewing video games and commercially viable business models.The core reasons, though, center around the creation and growth of new platforms especially streaming platforms where audiences can see live streaming of professional players competing with each other almost every day. They might tune into see teams of the best players battle head to head across multiple battlefields.These new platforms have demolished status quo that previously limited the gaming experience in South Africa to just the players in the game. They’ve attracted more people to the community, while allowing for two-way interaction within the space. For example, streaming platforms have provided incentives for both South Africa’s professional players and audiences to gather and interact. For professional players in cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg, they can gain income through a combination of advertisements, subscription fees for streaming their games and donations from viewers, which has made making a living by playing video games an attainable goal. For audiences, streaming makes eSports extremely accessible. Fans don’t even need to be especially skilled at playing video games to participate; they can simply sit back and enjoy the games.What’s more, audiences can actually engage with players through live streaming platforms, sending real-time comments or questions to players as the competitions stream.
The win win model of streaming platforms has triggered great interests in eSports across South Africa. The prosperity of South Africa’s streaming platforms has greatly increased awareness of eSports and is expected to generate huge revenues for the industry. These revenues behind eSports, meanwhile, have attracted big name brands to make more investments. Money from these investments is expected to be used to innovate in new streaming platforms such which will further increase awareness and create large gaming communities, while leading to more revenue opportunities for gamers and brands alike. This healthy innovation cycle in eSports business is a major support behind the surge of professional gaming in South Africa.With South Africa culture now taking eSports seriously and as someone who engages gamers and gaming data, I see immense possibility and potential for eSports and greater spectator interaction in this brave new Africa.While Africa has a relatively growing gamer base, the current market for eSports is still in its early days.Several companies and organizations are taking a keen interest in eSports due to the potential growth of the gaming industry.As an emerging industry, eSports in Africa gives sponsors a chance to target the millennial audience that makes up the majority of eSports fans. These people can be hard to reach through traditional forms of marketing.In general, eSports organizations in South Africa still can’t financially support themselves, so most of the earnings for players comes from tournament prizes like the one being held next week.Many of them are part-time or full-time undergraduate students, who have built up their gaming skills over several years.These players were approached by professional gaming clubs to compete on national and international levels due to their high ranking within online games.Most of the South Africa players still play from home. But some top team players train for up to ten hours a day from their training facility.Despite unstable sources of earnings, and a lack of long-term job security with competitive lifespans typically ranging between 2 and 4 years, African players rise above the challenges and treat their sport like any other athlete.In cases your blogger is familiar with, players engage in constant training, review and reflection meetings. They even exercise together for mental and physical well being.To become an elite eSports star, a gamer must be able to dedicate a significant portion of their daily life to learning the skills required to become a top tier competitive player.As an industry, eSports in Africa has yet to become truly mainstream like the way football or athletics are.However, widespread acceptance of eSports will come through a variety of methods such as legitimization from corporate and non-endemic partners, to active social media and marketing campaigns from eSports stakeholders across the continent.