In 2020, the South African government implemented a strict nationwide lockdown, which forced citizens to stay at home, except for the purchase of essential goods. While the restrictions were somewhat relaxed during 2021, the change in consumer behaviour that was sparked during the hard lockdown of 2020 meant that video games maintained strong growth, as consumers continued to seek entertainment options whilst spending time at home.
The category continued to be led in 2021 by video games holding company Activision Blizzard Inc, followed by console distributors Prima Toys & Leisure Trading (Pty) Ltd and Gamefinity (Pty) Ltd, which supply Xbox and PlayStation in South Africa, respectively, among other gaming accessories and titles. Activision Blizzard successfully retained its leadership in 2021 despite having to defend a civil lawsuit.
The cocooning trend, which was kickstarted by the pandemic-induced lockdowns in 2020, continues to be a key driver of video games revenue in South Africa. As the pandemic forced consumers to remain at home during strict nationwide lockdowns, demand for gaming and other forms of home entertainment rose strongly.
Demand for video games is expected to remain high over the forecast period, as the pandemic has had a lasting effect on consumer behaviour, boosting demand for home entertainment options. Furthermore, with the rollout of fibre internet and 5G in South Africa, combined with an influx of affordable, high-performing smartphones, mobile gaming is set to become increasingly accessible, driving sales of mobile games and in-game purchases.
Static consoles is expected to record the strongest growth over the forecast period, following the launch of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X at the end of 2020. While the pandemic has caused many supply challenges, including factory closures, shipping delays and the global shortage of chipsets (largely caused by the surge of pent-up demand), the outlook for static consoles remains strong.
Within video games, mobile gaming as well as e-sports are two areas set to pose strong growth opportunities for game developers and console manufacturers over the forecast period. Mobile gaming remains the most accessible way to game, given the high smartphone penetration rate in South Africa, while falling data costs and increasing fibre and 5G connectivity are set to further boost its popularity going forward.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Video Games industry in South Africa with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
Key trends are clearly and succinctly summarised alongside the most current research data available. Understand and assess competitive threats and plan corporate strategy with our qualitative analysis, insight and confident growth projections.
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This is the aggregation of video games hardware and video games software. Electronic/computerised educational toys such as Speak & Spell and LeapFrog are excluded from video games and included under pre-school. Video gaming population refers to the population that played a game at least once in the last 6 months on any covered platform. This includes players who have not spent any money on game purchases or in-game content purchases.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Video Games research and analysis database.
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