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Female gamer boom in 2019

South Africa’s gaming industry is undergoing a paradigm shift, which is expected to filter into 2019, as more female gamers look to join the industry and participate on a competitive level, says GARETH SCOTT, coach for esports organisation xTc Esports.

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Image courtesy of gointernationalgroup.com

The gaming industry has already taken the world by storm, registering around two billion players internationally, with a net worth of about R1.3 trillion. In South Africa alone, the overall industry was worth roughly R100 million just last year. More South African women are set to participate competitively in the gaming sector come 2019. But financial backing is a fundamental requirement to demonstrate gender transformation in the sector, and tech-based businesses are urged to come on-board to provide that support.

Gamers need to focus on gaming, and they need that sponsorship to give them peace of mind, it allows them to focus on what they need to, to further boost this multi-million-rand industry.

In this snippet, Scott shares the need-to-knows about gaming in SA and debunks some common myths associated with being a gamer.

What it takes:

·         Commitment

·         Talent and love for the game

·         Practice, practice, practice

Gamers aren’t couch potatoes:

In order for gamers to perform optimally, they need to lead a balanced lifestyle, which means maintaining an exercise programme, a healthy diet and staying fit is essential.

Stick to a healthy diet and look after yourself. As a gamer you’re also spending hours in front of a screen, roughly 6-8 hours at a time, and that means you need to pay attention to your posture as well, don’t slouch. Above all else your mindset is important, healthy thoughts equal healthy actions.

Balance is basic:

It’s not all always about the game, for gamers to build and maintain relationships and to engage in activities outside of the gaming world too.

Gaming vs traditional sport:

Yes, there are a few notable similarities between the two and they include:

·         Resilience

·         Self-discipline

·         Team player

How lucrative is it really:

It has the potential to be financially viable after about five years. To experience good financial return, gamers should be resolute, and work hard in order to participate in big league titles. Scott says a sponsorship can also contribute to extra cash in your pocket.

Sponsors take care of the big stuff, and that allows the gamer to participate fully without having to worry about any additional costs. That also means profit margin increases for the gamer.

Ryan Martyn, co-founder of tech firm Syntech agrees. Since 2015 the business has committed to sponsoring three of South Africa’s largest Multi-Gaming Organizations. He says sponsorship takes the form of helping cover costs, and helping outfit players with the best gaming gear to enable them to succeed. Syntech also sponsors the Ballistix Masters annual esports tournament, which boasts prize pools in excess of R150 000 each year.

“Distributors and key brands will continue to sponsor gamers and competitions while the market is showing growth. In South Africa, prize pools and sponsorships are unlikely to make any gamers wealthy, but they do provide enough security for individuals to develop their profiles and generate additional revenue streams via endorsements, streaming advertising and even participating in international events,” Martyn says.

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Tech promotes connections across groups in emerging markets

Digital technology users say they more regularly interact with people from diverse backgrounds

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Smartphone users – especially those who use social media – say they are more regularly exposed to people who have different backgrounds. They are also more connected with friends they don’t see in person, a Pew Research Center survey of adults in 11 emerging economies finds.

South Africa, included in the study, has among the most consistent levels of connection across age groups and education levels and in terms of cross-cultural connections. This suggests both that smartphones have had a greater democratisation impact in South Africa, but also that the country is more geared to diversity than most others. Of 11 countries surveyed, it has the second-lowest spread between those using smartphones and those not using them in terms of exposure to other religious groups.

Across every country surveyed, those who use smartphones are more likely than those who use less sophisticated phones or no phones at all to regularly interact with people from different religious groups. In most countries, people with smartphones also tend to be more likely to interact regularly with people from different political parties, income levels and racial or ethnic backgrounds. 

The Center’s new report is the third in a series exploring digital connectivity among populations in emerging economies based on nationally representative surveys of adults in Colombia, India, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, the Philippines, Tunisia, South Africa, Venezuela and Vietnam. Earlier reports examined attitudes toward misinformation and mobile technology’s social impact

The survey finds that smartphone and social media use are intertwined: A median of 91% of smartphone users in these countries also use social media or messaging apps, while a median of 81% of social media users say they own or share a smartphone. And, as with smartphone users, social media and messaging app users stand apart from non-users in how often they interact with people who are different from them. For example, 52% of Mexican social media users say they regularly interact with people of a different income level, compared with 28% of non-users. 

These results do not show with certainty that smartphones or social media are the cause of people feeling like they have more diverse networks. For example, those who have resources to buy and maintain a smartphone are likely to differ in many key ways from those who don’t, and it could be that some combination of those differences drives this phenomenon. Still, statistical modelling indicates that smartphone and social media use are independent predictors of greater social network diversity when other factors such as age, education and sex are held constant. 

Other key findings in the report include: 

  • Mobile phones and social media are broadening people’s social networks. More than half in most countries say they see in person only about half or fewer of the people they call or text. Mobile phones are also allowing many to stay in touch with people who live far away: A median of 93% of mobile phone users across the 11 countries surveyed say their phones have mostly helped them keep in touch with those who are far-flung. When it comes to social media, large shares report relationships with “friends” online who are distinct from those they see in person. A median of 46% of Facebook users across the 11 countries report seeing few or none of their Facebook friends in person regularly, compared with a median of 31% of Facebook users who often see most or all of their Facebook friends in person. 
  • Social activities and information seeking on subjects like health and education top the list of mobile activities. The survey asked mobile phone users about 10 different activities they might do on their mobile phones – activities that are social, information-seeking or commercial in nature. Among the most commonly reported activities are casual, social activities. For example, a median of 82% of mobile phone users in the 11 countries surveyed say they used their phone over the past year to send text messages and a median of 69% of users say they took pictures or videos. Many mobile phone users are also using their phones to find new information. For example, a median of 61% of mobile phone users say they used their phones over the past year to look up information about health and medicine for themselves or their families. This is more than the proportion that reports using their phones to get news and information about politics (median of 47%) or to look up information about government services (37%). Additionally, around half or more of mobile phone users in nearly all countries report having used their phones over the past 12 months to learn something important for work or school. 
  • Digital divides emerge in the new mobile-social environment. People with smartphones and social media – as well as younger people, those with higher levels of education, and men – are in some ways reaping more benefits than others, potentially contributing to digital divides. 
    • People with smartphones are much more likely to engage in activities on their phones than people with less sophisticated devices – even if the activity itself is quite simple. For example, people with smartphones are more likely than those with feature or basic phones to send text messages in each of the 11 countries surveyed, even though the activity is technically feasible from all mobile phones. Those who have smartphones are also much more likely to look up information for their households, including about health and government services. 
    •  There are also major differences in mobile usage by age and education level in how their devices are – or are not – broadening their horizons. Younger people are more likely to use their phones for nearly all activities asked about, whether those activities are social, information-seeking or commercial. Phone users with higher levels of education are also more likely to do most activities on their phones and to interact with those who are different from them regularly than those with lower levels of education. 
    •  Gender, too, plays a role in what people do with their devices and how they are exposed to different people and information. Men are more likely than women to say they encounter people who are different from them, whether in terms of race, politics, religion or income. And men tend to be more likely to look up information about government services and to obtain political news and information. 

These findings are drawn from a Pew Research Center survey conducted among 28,122 adults in 11 countries from Sept. 7 to Dec. 7, 2018. In addition to the survey, the Center conducted focus groups with participants in Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines and Tunisia in March 2018, and their comments are included throughout the report. 

Read the full report at https://www.pewinternet.org/2019/08/22/in-emerging-economies-smartphone-and-social-media-users-have-broader-social-networks.

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Nokia to be first with Android 10

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Nokia is likely to be the first smartphone brand to roll out Android 10, after its manufacturer, HMD Global, announced that the Android 10 software upgrade would start in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Previously named Android Q, it was given the number after Google announced it was ditching sweet and dessert names due to confusion in different languages. Android 10 is due for release at the end of the year.

Juho Sarvikas, chief product officer of HMD Global said: “With a proven track record in delivering software updates fast, Nokia smartphones were the first whole portfolio to benefit from a 2-letter upgrade from Android Nougat to Android Oreo and then Android Pie. We were the fastest manufacturer to upgrade from Android Oreo to Android Pie across the range. 

“With today’s roll out plan we look set to do it even faster for Android Pie to Android 10 upgrades. We are the only manufacturer 100% committed to having the latest Android across the entire portfolio.”

HMD Global has given a guarantee that Nokia smartphone owners benefit from two years of OS upgrades and 3 years of security updates.

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