The South African gaming industry is growing quite substantially. A relatively not so popular sport, Digital Gaming South Africa is slowly finding its rightful place and attracting big corporate sponsors. By Gugu Lourie
Long gone are the days that gaming is seen as a pursuit by teenage boys stuck in their parents’ basement or garages. Gaming is also becoming a massive spectator sport in South Africa.
“Gaming has seen phenomenal growth over the past few years as players become ever more engaged. We already have more than four million gamers in South Africa. By professionalising the sport and developing new players, we can look forward to seeing more local talent compete on the same footing as international teams,” says Johann Von Backström from the DGL Management Company.
The South African branch of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) reckons that by 2017 gaming in South Africa will be worth R3.3 billion. The market is divided into various sectors that all contribute to this final figure: console gaming, PC gaming, online gaming, mobile gaming and games advertising, according to NAG Online.
The DGL is the largest online league in South Africa with the largest player base and over 80 percent market share for eSports, having hosted over 35 000 online matches since its inception in 2008. Around 6 000 gamers take part in the DGL. Locally, the gaming industry is currently estimated at over R2 billion, making it a larger sector than both movies and music.
The South African gaming market has seen tremendous growth and Telkom is taking eSports to a new level with the launch of the new Telkom Digital Gaming League (DGL), previously known as the Do Gaming League.
The new league will include a Masters programme for elite Multi Gaming Organisations (MGOs) with prize money totalling R1 million in cash.
Telkom has been involved with the Do Gaming League as a sponsor since its inception in 2008, and has supported gaming in South Africa for over 10 years.
With the new league, Telkom will enable the entire gaming experience through a three tier offering, providing high speed connectivity and local servers for gamers to play on. The new DGL league software will be provided to enable more participants across all three tiers.
The three tiers comprise the following:
- Casual gaming competitions, including schools and corporate casual leagues, with the open division open to all;
- The DGL league is for the best gamers in the country which people can qualify for through the open division, with promotion and relegation through different divisions from April to October;
- The DGL Masters programme, where South Africa’s top eight MGOs are invited to compete online from April to October and in two regional LAN competitions. The final is planned for October 2016.
“The Masters programme will become the pinnacle of eSports in South Africa where eight MGOs will compete for R1 million in cash, the largest prize pool in South African eSports history. At the same time, the DGL will develop the local eSports to bring in new gamers through casual gaming competitions, improved spectator access and increased awareness,” says Enzo Scarcella, Telkom’s chief marketing officer.