GAMING IS NOT FOR FUN
The world has a new sports world champion and he is only 16. His name is Kyle Giersdorf, better known in the gaming world as Bugha. He is now $3 million rich, thanks to rewards from the first Fortnite World Cup (a gaming world cup). Fortnite is an online video game, which parachutes 100 players onto an island and leaves them to battle to the death until only one remain.
The game is played by 250 million people worldwide. Millions spend time playing this game. More than 300 million hours of Fortnite was watched on Twitch in the second quarter of 2019, according to live streaming platform company StreamElements. Unlike many high-end console games, Fortnite is free to download and play but has embedded costs to upgrade the gaming experience.
Fortnite, the gaming platform, was created in 2017. Its popularity has helped drive up revenue for the video game industry and other interactive media last year by 13 per cent, to about $120 billion, according to a report by SuperData, a market research entity owned by Nielsen. Fortnite raked $2.4 billion in revenue according to recent research data.
Fortnite is changing gaming as we know it. Gaming is no longer just for fun, it is now a serious sport. It is also a serious business that employs a new generation of workers.
Apple, Google, Microsoft and other leading tech giants are positioning themselves as gaming platforms. Apple has developed its own gaming platform, Apple Arcade. Google has also developed its own version of a gaming platform, Stadia.
The seriousness with which tech giants are pursuing the gaming business should inspire young people to consider gaming as a career. One can choose to be a gamer (sports player) or a game designer and developer.
There’s a huge opportunity in gaming for Africa. The continent, however, has to take a different approach to gaming. Instead of being a consumer of gaming it should focus more on designing and developing games. As opposed to developing games that promote violence, game designers and developers from the continent should develop games that enable society to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and other critical societal initiatives.
According to a report by PWC, Entertainment and media outlook 2018 – 2022, South Africa’s video games market will continue to grow. According to the report, total revenue in 2017 was over R3.0 billion and it’s estimated to be about R6.2 billion by 2022. The report points out that Nigeria’s video games market is also growing quickly and will reach a value of US$80 million in 2022. The e-sports industry is a billion dollar industry with huge opportunities for the continent in the following areas: Media rights revenue, consumer ticket sales revenue and sponsorship revenue. To reap full benefits from the gaming industry there’s still a need for gaming infrastructure (games specific-servers) to support local gamers.
The most popular game in the world right now has also been blamed for fuelling violence in schools. This is an opportunity for African game designers who understand the negative impact of violence in society to design a game that will promote peace and prosperity.