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SA Gaming Report: PC gaming declining whilst mobile gaming grows

PricewaterhouseCooper (PWC) has released its annual report regarding the South Africa media market. The report has revealed that the gaming industry is alive and well in South Africa, as it stands as the fastest growing in terms of total revenue generated. The report has indicated rapid growth in mobile gaming, stable projections for console sales and a steady decline in the PC market.  

Mobile gaming to lead the pack

Mobile gaming is growing in popularity, with the new generation of smartphones and tablet computers accelerating sales, according to the PWC report. Consumer spending in mobile gaming is expected to grow from R858 million in 2013 to R1.5 billion in 2018. This means that the mobile gaming market is set to capture more than 40% of the total gaming market by 2018.

The wide demographic of smartphone owners has allowed developers to produce games that might not find success on the console or PC market. Such examples include games like Candy Crush Saga which is largely played by middle-aged women, a demographic that does not own a significant number of consoles.

The increased penetration of smartphones to the general public is considered to be the largest driver for the expansion of mobile gaming. The wide spread availability of mobiles will allow more users to have the opportunity to download and play games.

Console gaming to retain stable growth

Console gaming has seen stable growth in sales in the past 4 years, and in 2013 the console market accounted for the leading share of total gaming revenue with 39.88%. The dominance of physical sales in the market is set to change as broadband becomes more available and affordable to the general consumer. Digital sales are projected to account for 27% of total game sales for the console gaming market by 2018.

Unlike other regions, the newer generation of consoles is expected to play second fiddle to the older game platforms in South Africa. This is due to South Africa having a less mature economy compared to the likes of the European and North American regions, where the purchase of a Xbox One or PlayStation 4 is considered to be a less significant investment overall. The South African market is expected to spend more time and money on older platforms like the PlayStation 2, which is considered a more affordable platform for our region.

New consoles will eventually offset this, but given the small installed base of the PS4 (seven million units globally) and the Xbox One (five million units globally), and the relative lack of next-generation games, this will take a long time.

PC gaming facing a steady decline

Unfortunately the PC gaming market is the only one of the three highlighted markets that is projected to see a drop in consumer spending in the near future. PC gaming revenue in the South Africa market will drop in value from R402 million, at its peak in 2012, to a forecast R360 million by 2018. This is in-part due to a change in gaming habits, as more people are playing casual games on PCs via Facebook than buying games.

That being said, there is still a positive outlook for digital sales as it is projected that they will overtake physical sales in 2018. This is thanks to services like Steam and EA’s Origin that are contributing to the growth in digitally-distributed games, which at the same time is reducing the capacity for piracy of video games. The digital market is set to represent 53% of all PC games revenue by 2018, which sits short of the global standard of 82%. 

What are your thoughts on the latest projections from PWC? Let us know by commenting below or hitting us up on Facebook or Twitter. 

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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd

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