Virtual Reality Here and Now

The original controller for the American Xbox video game console

The original controller for the American Xbox video game console, sometimes called the “Duke” controller. Image by Evan Amos at en.wikipedia

The Internet not only allows you to buy shoes online or put up your Audi A4 for sale in Gauteng; indeed, wide area networks have revolutionized the world of gaming.

Gaming in South Africa is either online or gambling in casinos. Not many have access to electricity, computers, or the Internet which means that they depend largely on their mobile phones for Internet access. In a study done by EuroMonitor International about a year ago on South Africa, they noted that traditional toys and games were more popular after their recession in 2009.

Licensed toys were doing brisk sales but the surge was on traditional toys and games: children were more ready to buy a camera than spend money on video games. Video games were not doing as well since they required the gaming console, the need to purchase the game for a higher price if it was a franchise from a multinational.

As the Internet and mobile phone with Internet access became more popular, Internet games began to experience a surge which lead to a polarization of prices as stores began to lower their prices to lure their customers back. Some of the stores have done exceedingly well like Pick ‘n Pay and the popular Shoprite.

Last year traditional toys and games began to see more challenges ahead as more mobile phones because prevalent among South Africans. In fact, in a survey done last year, it was revealed that South Africans tend to spend on mobile phones rather than computers because of 2 factors: it’s cheaper and it does need to be plugged into an outlet to work.

This year, electric power improved as more municipalities got access to the utility. This led to a surge in electricity sales by as much as 24.5%. It finally happened that the promises of the ANC party for access to electricity and this is expected to boost sales in other industries like household appliances, computers, and even backyard businesses.

This will effectively bring the virtual reality gaming industry into many homes in South Africa. There are also high expectations that South Africans may get bored with playing using their mobile phones and shift to gaming consoles and computers. Mobile gaming though is not expected to drop dramatically but be the extension of the gaming console or computer when the gamer is out of his home. South African children will also be asking for their own Xbox, Play Station, and accompanying flat screen TV (if not a second hand computer) in order to enjoy video games online. If you’d like to buy a flat screen TV, check out the great deals at bidorbuy via the supplied link.

Already there is much talk among gamers about the kind of money and/or fame one can get as an online gamer. Local game developers also have a better chance of coming up with games that can be sold locally and inexpensively before possibly becoming viral online.

In Alexa which is ranks websites traffic ranking, a surprising number 7 in South Africa is an online gaming site in Cape Town, South Africa. This is the gumtree.co.za whose global rank is 1,276 for 3 straight months. The most surprising thing about this ranking is that Alexa reveals most visitors to this site are women without children. The average time spent on the site is 14 minutes and 95% of its visitors come from South Africa.