Esports Around The World: South Africa

Esports Around The World: South Africa

Esports Around The World is a series of profiles outlining the esports ecosystem in various countries globally. The series ties into ESI’s international esports business events, which take place around the world.

The Esports Around The World series will profile major & minor esports nations across the globe.

Introduction

As one of the most economically developed nations in Africa, South Africa is at the forefront of African esports. With the help of key organisations such as Mind Sport South Africa and the Confederation of African Esports, South Africa is one of a number of African countries helping to grow esports on the continent.

According to a report by analytics company Newzoo and gaming platform and publisher Carry1st, South Africa is the largest market in Africa and has the highest consumer spending at $290m (~£232m). An estimated 95% of gamers play on mobile, the report estimated, underscoring the importance of mobile esports’ cheaper barrier to entry in supporting the region’s exponential gaming growth. Greater developments are also being made to support the region’s PC gaming scene. Notably, Carry1st partnered with Riot Games in August 2023 to bring VALORANT servers into South Africa.

South Africa is home to some of the biggest teams in Africa, from ATK to Bravado Gaming, however, despite this development, the scene is still going through a process of growth in the esports sector. Talking to Esports Insider in 2022, South African esports and gaming personality Sam ‘Tech Girl’ Wright described the scene as “the European esports scene ten years ago”.

Government Recognition

Esports has not been officially recognised as a sport in South Africa. Instead, esports is classified as a ‘mind sport’ — in the same category as disciplines such as chess — and is administered by Mind Sports South Africa (MSSA).

MSSA is a national governing body for all mind sports, including esports, and has been officially recognised by an Act of Parliament in South Africa.

Notable Tournaments & Leagues

South Africa is slowly hosting more tournaments for teams domestically and across Africa to take part in. MSSA, which is part of the International Esports Federation, runs a large range of events in South Africa, ranging from school level to National Championship level.

African Cyber Gaming LeagueRLCS Sub-Saharan Africa ESEA South AfricaPredator Winter Slam 2021ESL African ChampionshipWorld Electronic Sports Games (WESG) South Africa 2019 Mythic RoyaleBraintree Gaming Cup Series

Notable Esports Organisations

Note that this is a non-exhaustive list and exclusion does not signify an org is not notable.

ATKGoliath GamingBravado Gaming
Orlando Pirates ExdeeDNMK Esports
 White Rabbit Gaming

National Associations / Federations

Note that inclusion in this list does not suggest any acknowledgement from ESI of its authority, works or official capacity.

Africa Electronic Sport Association (AESA)Mind Sports South Africa (MSSA) Confederation of African Esports (CAES) 

Education Initiatives

The Africa Electronic Sport Association (AESA) was set up as an independent non-profit organisation to reduce esports entry barriers for young and underprivileged people. The AESA has designed a short educational course for parents and caregivers, which provides an overview of the risks and benefits that online gaming has for children, and what strategies there are to keep children safe when they are playing online.

On a collegiate level, University Sports South Africa (USSA), a governing body for university sport in South Africa, introduced esports as an event in September 2019.

This is a preliminary country profile and will be augmented with additional information over time. If you have any suggestions or feedback for this profile, please get in touch at info@esportsinsider.com. Originally published: May 24th, 2022. New update: August 25th 2023.


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