Esports Around The World is a series of profiles outlining the esports ecosystem in various countries globally. The series tied into our ESI Washington DC event, which focused on esports’ growth around the world.
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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 report, South Africa is the largest market in Africa and has the highest consumer spending at $290m (~£232m). An estimated 95 percent 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.
South Africa is home to some of the biggest teams in Africa, from ATK to Bravado Gaming, and in the past major organisations have looked to South Africa when acquiring new talent — most notably when Cloud 9 signed a South African duo in CS:GO in 2020.
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.
Notable Esports Organisations
Note that this is a non-exhaustive list and exclusion does not signify an org is not notable.
National Associations / Federations
Note that inclusion in this list does not suggest any acknowledgement from ESI of its authority, works or official capacity.
The Africa Electronic Sport Association (AESA) was set up as an independent non-profit organisation to reduce the barriers of entry of esports for young and especially 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 in September 2019.
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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 [email protected]
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