By MTHULISI SIBANDA in Johannesburg
South Africa Bureau
THE South African mobile gaming sector is experiencing unprecedented growth as the cost of mobile data declines.
This is good news for the country’s 11 million gamers, including those in the previously disadvantaged townships, colloquially referred to as “ekasi”.
“The plunging cost of participating in mobile gaming and esports, which do not depend on expensive gaming PCs or consoles, has not gone unnoticed by the country’s township youth who are flocking to digital entertainment like never before,” said Perfect Zikhali, Creative Director for Ekasi Esports.
Zikhali explained that his company regularly saw over-subscription when it announced its weekly online gaming tournaments.
For example, phenomenal interest by gamers in Week 1 of the Ekasi Esports Free Fire Series saw the 96 available solo slots filled in just a single afternoon.
Week 2 registration earlier this month was filled in just a few hours.
As a result, the company will be making more slots available for its weekly mobile esports tournaments.
Zikhali said cheaper mobile data was opening up numerous opportunities for African mobile gamers to compete at a world-class level.
“Ekasi Esports is excited to see what the future holds for the African mobile gaming and competitive esports scene,” he said.
According to the local gaming leader, South Africa climbed from 148th to 136th place in 2020, based on the price of a gig of mobile data.
In May last year, one gigabyte of mobile data cost R88 (R6,14), according to a price comparison website.
By the end of the year, the price had dropped to R39 with South Africa cheaper than such developed countries as the United States, Canada and New Zealand.
South Africa’s mobile data cost is now on par with Germany and Japan.
Initiatives by the Competition Commission and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to reduce the cost to communicate are seen as bearing fruit and further mobile data price reductions are expected with the upcoming assignment of spectrum.
– CAJ News