The stereotype we had about gamers is now in the past. Today a gamer can be a dynamic, social, successful person and they are proud to define themselves like that.

By Chris Buchanan, client solutions director of Dell Technologies South Africa

Same as videogames and their technology, the player’s profile is continually innovating and moving forward toward a future we are beginning to live today.

This evolution is being tracked by Dell Technologies, and its leading brands in PC gaming worldwide: G Series and Alienware, who listen and stay close to the gamer community to gain insight about their likes and needs, to develop advanced equipment that will bring them enhanced experiences.

The growth and transformation of the videogame industry has resulted in new gamer profiles, breaking the old myth which told us that the players are primarily males and are isolated from a social life. Today there are no gender or age barriers to be a videogame fanatic and more people are playing to relax, for entertainment and to reduce stress.

Research shows that 40% of all South Africans engage with video games, but more startling still is that 71% of South African adults play mobile games as a means of entertainment.

The State of Gaming report from Alienware and Researchscape showed that one in every two players (47%) have a gamer female friend, almost a third (29%) has a sister who likes videogames and 21% said their daughter plays.

Also, it was found that most gamers are dynamic and balanced people. The players don’t just focus on playing at a high level, but also give priority to relating with other players. One out of every four gamers surveyed have made new friends (26%), have gotten closer to friends who play (25%) and have made close ties through videogames (25%), proving that videogames can unite people in an incredibly unique way.

At the same time, the study showed that gamers lead busy lives outside of videogames. From the 5,763 players surveyed, 63% are interested in music, 59% like to spend time with family and 55% with friends, while 50% love to travel and 46% enjoy reading and writing.

In South Africa, the videogaming culture is constantly growing and is becoming a powerful market. According to Newzoo, 20,3-million South Africans spent upwards of $200 million – making it the largest market within the gaming sector in all of Africa. With an expected 50% increase in youth population by 2050, this market only stands to grow stronger in the future.

As videogames and their technology advance, there is rapid development of players as professionals. The State of Online Gaming report from Limelight Networks indicates that close to 36% of global players would leave their jobs to become professional gamers.

E-sports players do not see videogames as something popular or simply as a game, they take their training very seriously.

Andreas ‘cent’ Hadjipaschali, Bravado Gaming co-founder and director, says: “South Africa’s esports industry has grown significantly in the past decade due to increased investment, better infrastructure, and growing public interest. An uptick in leagues and tournaments offered across multiple esports titles has seen the industry grow in many different directions with the common goal of growing the industry.

“Furthermore, the growth of the industry has led to an increase of careers within the esports and gaming ecosystem, such as graphic and multimedia designers, project managers, shout-casters and talent hosts.”

With tournaments and leagues catering towards the youth sector of esports such as the Mettlestate Esports League, the Telkom VS Gaming High School Esports League and ACGL’s High School Leagues, young players who aspire to be professionals can receive support from within their learning institutions as gaming companies are starting to help these young players start building a career in videogames.

The local gaming and eSports community also continues to proliferate with homegrown streamers who have garnered loyal fans and built a close-knit group of dedicated subscribers. A number of dedicated industry events take place annually, including rAge Expo, Comic Con Africa and Africa Games Week. As the industry expands, one can expect many more regional gamer and streamer talents to emerge alongside tailored South African gaming content.

However, playing is not only associated with entertainment or high performance. Videogames can improve abilities such as strategic thinking and hand-eye co-ordination, response time, teamwork and leadership skills. These are all highly regarded skills in the professional world in which gaming programs can also provide a strong focus.

The future for gamers is here. With more than 22 years developing high performance products to satisfy the needs of every gamer, Dell Technologies continues to support the evolution of this market and its players. The world of videogames is full of possibilities for everyone, they can provide a sense of freedom, entertainment or can prepare its users for the digital future.

PC gaming is in Dell Technologies’ DNA. We have a wide portfolio of products for gamers, divided according to the player profile. These include the G Series multipurpose unit for social and semi-competitive gaming, and the Alienware Series of strong, powerful units for professional and hardcore gamers.