Unbeknownst to the general South African public, the online gaming audience in this country has been quietly mushrooming under our feet. According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers’ report on the ‘South African entertainment and media outlook for 2012-2016’ that was recently released in September 2012, the spend on online gaming grew by a very healthy 25.6% from 2010 to 2011 against a background of a total gaming industry worth a reported R1.299 billion.
If you weren’t interested in the gaming industry up until now, maybe you’re just starting to pay attention. On the back of that I’d like to introduce you to some of the top online gaming trends over that last month in South Africa that are driving this growth.
Digital downloads of games are very much on the rise as a popular method of acquiring titles. Granted there are still strong arguments for having the physical box copy, especially for collector’s editions, but I for one love the convenience of digital; with an Uncapped Internet solution, I simply download and install the game I want, when I want it, no messing around trying to find the original discs. Most digital download clients store your history, so you can download and install games that you purchased ten years ago if a gaming nostalgia moment strikes you.
Across the two online stores that MWEB hosts content servers for, Steam and GamersGate, the most popular downloads were as follows:
South Africa’s Top 10 Downloads on GamersGate for week 46 of 2012:
SA Gamers are getting in touch with the Dark Side. Yes, its because they have cookies.
1. Darksiders II Season Pass DLC
2. Darksiders II
3. Commandos Complete Collection
4. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Collection
5. Nuclear Dawn
8. Crusader Kings II: Byzantine Unit Pack
9. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky
Global Top 10 Downloads on Steam for the week ending 11 November:
Footie fans are eager to prove that they are better managers than Sir Alex Ferguson?
1. Football Manager 2013™
2. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
3. Assassin’s Creed® III
4. Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition
5. Natural Selection 2
6. XCOM: Enemy Unknown
7. Dark Souls™: Prepare To Die™ Edition
8. Borderlands 2
10. Hitman: Absolution™
Most Popular Online Games
Over 1 Trillion hours logged by League of Legends players in EU and US. Unbelievable!
On the PC gaming side, in a recent article on the Forbes.com site, League of Legends is quoted as the “Most Played PC Game in the World”. In stats given for play across the EU and US, gamers clocked 1,292,502,456 hours on the game between July 2011 and Jun 2012. For the number 2 title, World of Warcraft players clocked 622,378,909 hours over the same period. On a side note here, if you want to learn how to play League of Legends, MWEB GameZone have launched a free online training program for the title, with the first session held last night.
Another useful source for what’s popular for online gaming is the Steam stats site. The stats are up-to-date for the last 24 hours or so, but as a caveat, only cover games deployed on the Steam platform. As at 16 November, the top games were (peak number of players in the last 24 hours):
1. 141,691 Dota 2
2. 58,320 Football Manager 2013
3. 54,705 Call of Duty: Black Ops II – Multiplayer
4. 52,508 Counter-Strike
5. 48,482 Team Fortress 2
6. 34,894 Counter-Strike: Source
7. 26,729 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
8. 21,191 Sid Meier's Civilization V
9. 18,877 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
10. 17,563 Borderlands 2
Across the MWEB dedicated servers in October, the biggest jump in percentage of new online gamers goes to Medal of Honor: Warfighter, which was only launched towards the end of October. A special mention also need to be made for Natural Selection 2; Since we put the dedicated server live for this title, it seems to always be full!
My most surprising find was from an article on the most popular XBOX games we recently ran, which revealed that Minecraft was the game with the most Xbox 360 Live activity for the week of October 15 (based on unique users), beating out popular titles like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and even FIFA13! How about that? Virtual Lego rules!
Des’s Gaming Picks:
Ok, so we’re in crazy season at the moment and there is a bewildering amount of cool stuff coming down the line. Here are my top picks to watch out for in November 2012:
Black Ops 2 is going to one of the biggest games this month and probably this year!
1. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2: Launched on November 13, it’s likely to be one of the most popular titles for 2012 across PC and console. Judging by the activity on the local servers which we announced are hosted by MWEB, the multiplayer component is real winner
2. Halo 4: It’s already been released on November 6, but it’s a continuation of a classic on the XBOX and worth getting. Check out the review here on Gearburn. Microsoft South Africa is also running a tournament where winners can get a chance to visit Gamescom in Germany. More information on the tournament site. Great online multiplayer.
3. Hitman Absolution – The bald headed assassin makes his way back to our gaming screens on 20 November. Sure to be good fun online with the new “Contracts” mode included in the game.
4. Assassins Creed III on PC – due out on 23 November, it’s a chance for PC gamers to play this great title. Great online multiplayer content to look forward in this title as well!
5. Wii U – its the first of the “new” consoles to arrive on our shores and is due on 30 November. We’re looking forward to seeing how the online component has improved over the dismal content that was available on the original Wii (yeah, what content?).
6. PlanetSide 2 – “Massive combat on an Epic Scale” is coming to you on November 20th with this Massively Multiplayer First-Person Shooter. Sadly no local servers, but it’s got a great pedigree and worth checking out. If you don’t want to wait that long, you can also apply to get in as one of the beta testers for the game.
That’s all for this month’s Online Gaming report! I look forward to your comments against the article to hear your views on online gaming in South Africa, maybe with some idea’s you have for future articles.
Follow MWEB Gaming on Twitter at @MWEBGMZ or visit MWEB’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/MWEBGamezone or Des @bosbvok (yes, you read that right).