These mobile games are capturing the imagination across South Africa

By Rik Snuiverink    12-Jul-2018 20:39 UTC+02:00

Back in 2015, it was obvious which way the wind was blowing. Mobile gaming was taking the world by storm, and it seemed inevitable that South Africa would get caught up in all the excitement. Three years on, and as smartphone uptake has continued to grow to almost saturation point, every single one of us seems to be a gamer.

With so many people getting in on the action, it is natural that games come in a whole variety of types. So which are the ones that are garnering the most attention, and therefore investment dollars?

Mobile eSports

When it comes to PC gaming, the first person shooters and multiplayer online battle arenas that make up the bulk of eSports stand head and shoulders above the rest. What has been interesting over the past 12 months or so, though, is the way that eSports has migrated across to the mobile gaming platform.

The most popular mobile eSports game is Vainglory, and just like the big guys in the “traditional” eSports arena, such as League of Legends or Dota 2, it is attracting spectators, fans and big money sponsorship. With a 150 percent growth from 2016 to 2017, mobile eSports could become bigger than anyone can imagine.

Casino games

Online casinos have been a staple of gaming culture for 20 years, but the ability to play them on apps via a smartphone has sent the sector into overdrive. The first mobile casino app appeared in 2004, but as smartphone technology has improved over the past five years, the online casino industry has boomed in South Africa as much as it has everywhere else (source: More sites going live and more people joining them to get in on the fun and try to win some money has led to a vibrant and dynamic environment.

With the recent relaxation of gambling laws in the USA, expect this sector to see even more investment in new technologies over the coming months and years.

Sports games

It might be eight years since South Africa last qualified for the football world cup, but that has not dampened our interest in the event, or indeed in the sport. FIFA Soccer is the most popular mobile game in South Africa, and ranks 12th in the list of apps across all genres. We are a nation of sports lovers, so it shouldn’t be surprising, and the great thing about mobile sports games is that they can be as simple or complex as you like.

FIFA Soccer or Golf Star are two examples that lie at the more complex end of the spectrum, allowing players the chance to play through a season and even get involved in leagues. The links with mobile eSports are obvious, and could form the next evolution in gaming as the sectors combine.

However, there is also room for simplicity. If you simply want to whack some sixes in Stick Cricket or knock some pool balls around the table, these are great stress relievers that need little in the way of mental input.

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