The organizers of DISCOP have announced a new initiative that will bring the world of professional competitive gaming closer to TV screens across Africa. This program will showcase the esports experience to broadcasters and brands who understand that television is still the most powerful advertising medium in Africa.
Global video gaming competitions have grown from a nascent idea to a powerhouse industry, with millions of fans watching individuals and teams compete for tens of millions of dollars in prize money. In conjunction with DISCOMICS, and its partners across the continent, ICON Comics & Games Convention, Nairobi Comic-Convention, Pro Series Gaming, and the African Animation Network will present a brand new, broadcast-partnered initiative to explore the potential of e-Sports in Africa — and provide two video gamers a chance to take on the world’s best.
The world of professional competitive gaming therefore, is now firmly on the agenda at DISCOP JOHANNEBUG 2019, taking place from November 20-22nd at the Sandton Convention Centre, in a session entitled ‘Bringing Video Gaming to Screens,’ to be jointly hosted by Nick WILSON, President of the AFRICAN Animation Network, Les ALLEN, President of the ICON Comics and Games Convention, and Thomas IMBOYA, President of the NAIROBI Comic Convention and Pro Series Gaming, he biggest esports competition organisers in East Africa.
China, South Korea, North America, and Europe have emerged as the main hubs for the burgeoning competitive esports scene. The industry is far smaller in Africa, but it is starting to gather pace with start-ups springing up across the continent to produce games with African themes. The continent had 23 million video game players in 2014, and that reached 500 million in 2018, largely due to the rapid penetration of smartphones. In South Africa, esports stars earned close to $300,000 in 2018, up 6.8% on the previous year.
The games market itself has grown from $105 million to $570 million in the same four-year period. In Kenya, the video games market was worth over $50m in 2016 and is expected to double by 2021. Combine that with hardware sales and gaming is already a billion-dollar business in Africa.
“The world of sports entertainment is changing, and esports is the star player,” says Patrick Zuchowicki, President of DISCOP who adds, “DISCOP is waking up to video gaming competition’s potential. We will help broadcasters and content producers learn more about this new ecosystem to woo audiences. Not just gamer addicts. But everyone from nine years old to 45”.
The two-hour session will explore how the rise of competitive gaming will disrupt the traditional notions of sports broadcasting. eSports broadcast will evolve into something entirely different and much more interactive than what television viewers have seen in the past. Questions to be tackled will include the difficulty of broadcasting video gaming competitions, the growth of physical venues for eSports, how technology can make eSports more interactive, and comparisons to traditional sports.
“Depending on the way they watch eSports, audiences and their friends sitting in the same room are getting something different out of it. It’s a different interaction model around video game than it is around traditional sports, which have a much higher barrier,” says Nick Wilson, President of the African Animation Network, who adds, “We are still at the beginning of eSports broadcast and a lot of competitions are not properly set up to be captured on video. But the rise of competitive gaming in Africa reveals pent-up demand from a new generation of African gamers and we can expect more games to come to screens.”