Mobile Gaming in South Africa

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) in their latest edition of the South African Entertainment and Media Outlook for 2013 – 2017, mobile gaming is on the rise in South Africa. With spend on mobile gaming growing by 29.5% from 2011’s R536mil to R694mil in 2012, spend in this category has surpassed that of spend on PC gaming. The mobile game segment is projected to have a 13.5% compounded annual growth rate over the period 2013 to 2017, so growth is set to continue at an impressive rate.

One of the core reasons isolated in this report is that of affordability; A large part of the South African population cannot afford a gaming PC or console but have access to a mobile phone, and the introduction of well priced tablets will further strengthen this growth. Another important fact is that the average price of mobile games is far less than those for PC and Console; In the report, PwC list the approximate average prices of console games at R545, PC games at R345 and mobiles games at a much lower R15.

Whilst we don’t believe that mobile gaming will replace PC and Console gaming, we do believe that it will also have an impact on these platforms with the introduction of complimentary mobile game tie-ins such as Battlefield 4’s ‘Commander Mode’, where Smartphone and Tablet devices are tied into console and PC games.  

Make sure you bookmark the MWEB GameZone mobile gaming site as we bring you the latest mobile gaming news and reviews and keep you up-to-date with the latest in this rapidly growing gaming segment.

Types of Mobile games

Mobile games are developed using a wide range of platforms and technologies such as Windows Mobile, Palm OS, Symbian, Adobe Flash Lite, NTT DoCoMo's DoJa, Sun's Java ME, Qualcomm's BREW, WIPI, Apple iOS, Windows Phone 8 or Google Android. While Java is the most common platform for mobile games, however its performance limits lead to the adoption of different formats for more sophisticated games.

Mobile games tend to be small in scope and often rely on good gameplay rather than graphics, due to the lack of processing power of the client devices. Recent innovations in mobile games include Singleplayer, Multiplayer and 3D graphics. Multiplayer games are quickly finding an audience, as developers take advantage of the ability to play against others, a natural extension of the mobile phone’s connectivity. 

Games played on a mobile device using localization technology like GPS are called location-based games These are not only played on mobile hardware but also integrate the player's position into the game concept and movement are main elements in a Location-based mobile game.

A multiplayer mobile game is often a re-branding of a multiplayer game for the PC or console. Most mobile games are single player mobile games perhaps with artificially intelligent opponents. Multiplayer functionality is achieved through Infrared, Bluetooth, GPRS, 3G, Wi-Fi, AI, MMS, or Wireless LAN connection.

Some "community" based games exist in which players use their phones to access a community website where they can play browser-based games with other players. Such games typically have limited graphical content so that they can run on a phone, and the games focus on the interaction between large numbers of participants.

Mobile Game Downloads

Mobile games can be distributed in one of four ways:

Over the Air (OTA)

A game binary file is delivered to the mobile device via wireless carrier networks.

Sideloaded

A game binary file is loaded onto the phone while connected to a PC, either via USB cable or Bluetooth.

Pre-installed

A game binary file is preloaded onto the device by the original equipment manufacturer.

Mobile browser download

A game file is downloaded directly from a mobile website.