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In-game purchases jump in SA



South Africa’s video games market has witnessed a strong growth in recent years. From the devices the games are played on, to the number of gamers themselves, the video gaming culture has considerably changed, while online and digital revenues rise.

New trends

The year 2017 marked a turning point in the global video games market, as revenue from the social gaming sector (R1.6 billion) overtook revenue from the traditional sector (R1.4 billion). In other words, more-accessible social gaming overtook the PC and console sector. 

South Africa showed the same trend, as a result of the growth in smartphone ownership, which provides millions of consumers with an accessible and affordable door into the gaming market. 

According to the Entertainment and Media Outlook 2018-2022, the total PC games revenue in South Africa in 2017 accounted only for the 46 % of the total video games revenue, while the social gaming revenue accounted for the 52%. 

Traditional gaming revenue in South Africa is still the largest in Africa, but growth will be limited because of the cost of hardware and software. 

In contrast, games playable on smartphones typically offer a zero-cost point of entry, which means that most consumers have little or no difficulty taking part in the social gaming market. 

Consequently, social gaming is surpassing the growth of traditional gaming thanks to the advantages it provides. Social games are free, widely available and require only a few minutes at a time to play and they tend to grow virally because user can invite their contacts to join them in playing the game. 

New games

It is expected that revenue per smartphone gaming will only continue to rise. In 2017 the country’s casual gaming market was dominated by simple and compelling games like strategy title Clash of Clans and the worldwide famous puzzle game Candy Crush Saga. 

In 2018 these well-established games were challenged by the tremendously popular range of “battle royale” games such as Fortnite and Apex, which are mainly shooters in which players land on a shared map with several enemy players and must fight until only one player or group remains. These games owe their popularity to their huge player bases on PC and console, which coupled with smartphone players; made them South Africa’s most played games in 2018. 

Better internet infrastructure

Another factor that plays an important role in the expansion of the gaming market in South Africa is the improved internet infrastructure. It makes it more than sufficient to support gaming and with Fibre being almost fully integrated only in cities and wealthy suburban areas. In fact, the increasing access to high-speed internet connection has allowed more users to play online multiplayer games and has provided them with access to additional content for the games they purchase.

Some 2.4 million households have fixed broadband, an amount which is relatively low due to limited network coverage high overall tarifs. In contrast, the number of South African mobile internet subscribers in 2019 reached 38 million and that number is expected to grow up to 40.8 million next year.

More revenues and more digital sales

Gaming is moving towards digital revenues because consumers are opting for microtransactions with in-game purchases such as character skins or even powers and abilities. In-game purchases take place both in console games and PC. To illustrate, the revenue of online microtransactions in console games was around R92 million in 2018 and it was around R293 millions for PC games, according to the Entertainment and Media Outlook.

Microtransactions allow gamers to control the amount they spend on games rather than paying a monthly subscription fee. Subscription models work well with the most popular games, while the free-to-play business model, characteristic of the above-mentioned “battle royale” games, attracts smaller games to help them build interest. 

As a result of all these factors, the number of online microtransactions in SA has increased by 13 % from 2018 to 2019, according to the online service platform As more and more gamers have access to the gaming market, the digital sales both of video games and in-game content have received a tremendous boost, the online service platform explained.

A shift from physical to digital video games

The shift from physical to digital for the video game market has been slow but inevitable and it has accelerated in the last two years. However, unit sales vary depending on the video game, as physical copies of PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC games are still in high demand

Popular physical PC games in South Africa including the Sims 4, Farming Simulator, the Call of Duty franchise, and World of Warcraft. When it comes to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One titles, South African bestsellers include FIFA 19, Red Dead Redemption 2, Grand Theft Auto V, and Far Cry New Dawn.

The video gaming market is also growing in South Africa thanks to companies such as Game 4U, a leading gaming retailer specializing in Xbox and PlayStation games. Gaming enthusiasts, especially those who are fanatics of physical video games, can have access to the latest and most popular video games.

It is important to highlight that almost every game for both PC and consoles include downloadable content, which also accounts for the increase in online sales.

Competitive gaming leagues

There has also been a large increase in competitive gaming leagues further displaying how the gaming culture has grown in South Africa. Even though the industry is comparatively smaller than the rest of the world, it is starting to gather pace: South African esports stars earned a total of R3.78 million in 2018. 

Competitive gaming leagues operate on the same level as local sport teams and leagues with organised tournaments and competitions, where competitions against other countries are organized. 

Online games platforms enable players to download games and in-game content to compete against other players across the Internet. The PC platforms as well as consoles support an online environment which is thriving in South Africa and it is only set to continue to do so. That is why digital distribution of content is emerging as an important segment of the online gaming market in South Africa. 



Security issues grow with transition to smart TVs



You can’t picture a modern home without smart equipment. Smart thermostats, smart refrigerators, robot vacuums, and smart TVs won’t surprise anyone these days. For example, around 70% of the TVs being sold worldwide are smart TVs. Although they bring more entertainment, these devices also carry new digital threats. 

Sometimes people forget that smart TVs are as vulnerable to cybercrime as their smartphones and computers. Daniel Markuson, the digital privacy expert at NordVPN, says that “although smart TVs are connected to the internet and have similar functions to computers, they aren’t equipped with the same security tools, which makes them easy prey for hackers.” 

What’s so scary about your TV getting hacked? As smart TVs gain more features, the amount of your private information they handle increases too. TVs aren’t just for watching movies and shows anymore. Now you can use them for web browsing, streaming video content, gaming, and even shopping online. 

To enjoy your smart TV to the fullest, you need to download various apps and games. These cost money, so you need your credit card details filled in. Putting your financial information, logins, and passwords on your TV makes it an appealing target for hacking. 

According to Daniel Markuson, a smart TV can be used to spy on its users. Hackers can access its camera and microphone through malware, which they can slip into your TV when it is connected to Wi-Fi. They can use footage from your bedroom or living room to blackmail you and your family. By watching your home and listening to your conversations, hackers know what goods you have, where you keep them when you’re away, and what your plans are. 

If you use your smart TV for web browsing, you can infect it with various viruses too, says the digital privacy expert at NordVPN. Like computers, smart TVs run on software, but they don’t have the same strong antivirus and firewall systems installed. Once your TV gets infected, your browsing history, passwords, and other private data become accessible to hackers. And they won’t miss the opportunity to use this information in ransomware attacks. 

Even though smart TVs are vulnerable to cyber threats, Daniel Markuson says there is no need to panic yet. The expert names a few simple principles every smart TV owner should follow to protect their device.

Always update your TV’s software whenever a new version becomes available. The expert says that software updates are crucial for cybersecurity as manufacturers do their best to patch vulnerabilities. Updates often repair security flaws, fix or remove various bugs, add new features, and improve the existing ones. Some TVs install updates automatically by default. With others, you may need to check for updates periodically to make sure your device runs on the latest version. 

Use available security measures such as a VPN. The best practice for any internet-connected device is to install a firewall and use a VPN such as NordVPN. It secures your device and lets you enjoy fast internet access with encryption-powered privacy.

Connect your smart TV to the internet only when needed. It isn’t necessary to have your TV connected to Wi-Fi all the time. To make it less vulnerable to hacker attacks, turn on the Wi-Fi connection only when you are using it.

Download apps from official stores only. Do not install any programs and games from unofficial sources on your smart TV. Make sure that both the app and its provider are reliable. Moreover, if an application asks for access to your data, camera, or microphone that isn’t necessary for its operation, never accept it.

Be careful with personal files and financial data. Shopping online on a big smart TV screen might be fun, but be careful providing your credit card details and other sensitive information this way. Although some manufacturers equip their TV sets with security features, they cannot guarantee safety online. “People who synchronize their smart TVs with their computers to access compatible media content should be especially cautious,” warns Daniel Markuson. The connection between your smart TV and your computer can be a weak link and lead to a data breach.

Use strong Wi-Fi passwords. This practice is the most obvious and the easiest to follow. Create a strong password to protect your Wi-Fi connection at home and don’t share it with any outsiders.

Turn off your TV camera when not in use. Whether it’s a built-in camera or the one connected to a TV via Wi-Fi, turn it off when not using it. If you can’t turn off your camera, use a piece of tape or a sticker over the camera lens to cover it. 

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Tech too complex? It stresses out even the tech-savvy



Picture by hobvias sudoneighm on Flickr.

Even the savviest members of the tech industry get stressed by common devices that power their everyday lives, according to a recent poll conducted at CES 2020 by Asurion, the global leader in helping people connect, protect and enjoy their tech.

Survey screen by Asurion at CES 2020.

Asurion surveyed nearly 1,400 attendees of CES 2020, the world’s largest and most influential tech industry event, about their relationship with personal tech and their role as tech expert for family and friends. What the tech care company found is that even the tech-savvy, tech DIY’ers and early adopters stress out over some of the most ordinary devices in our hands and homes.

So, what tech tops the list of devices that stress out some of the consumer electronics industry’s tech enthusiasts?

  • Mesh routers and Wi-Fi networks (33%)
  • Phones (26%)
  • Smart home security systems (23%)

And, the tech-related activities that even the tech-savvy dread the most?

  • Troubleshooting a device that worked perfectly yesterday (39%)
  • Device security (27%)
  • Setting up devices (nearly 27%)

Asurion helps nearly 300 million customers worldwide unlock the potential of their tech with a team of over 10,000 Experts who are just a call, click or tap away. The company’s Experts provide ongoing tech support, same-day device repair, and same-day delivery and setup services. They’ll meet customers virtually, in-home, at select partner stores, and in more than 540 uBreakiFix stores across the country or wherever it’s convenient.

“The tech industry just spent four amazing days experiencing and celebrating the latest innovations in the future of tech,” said Teresa May, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Asurion. “What we heard is that even common tech tasks and devices can be challenging. Every day, our Experts help people across the country with their devices – everything from setting up a new phone to troubleshooting streaming issues on their smart TVs. Our CES poll reveals that the industry’s top tech innovators share the same pain points affecting millions of Americans.”

Asurion’s Experts received more than 18.5 million calls and chats from customers seeking tech help last year. And while the No. 1 question this holiday was a strong “How do I activate my new phone?” Asurion Experts also received many questions ranging from “How do I connect to Wi-Fi?” to “Can I sync my smart speakers to play them in tandem?”

And while the tech industry may have tech challenges of their own, they also get tapped by family and friends for help. Eight out of 10 attendees surveyed said their family and friends rely on them to help set up and troubleshoot their tech. Nearly two-thirds (63%) said they hesitate to gift tech to their loved ones because the recipient won’t know how to use it, and nearly half (46%) gave pause to gifting tech to family and friends because they didn’t want to be the one to help set it up.

Asurion CES Tech Poll

Consumer Tech Devices That Stress CES Attendees Out the Most

1. Mesh Routers and Wi-Fi Networks (33%)
2. Phones (26%)
3. Smart Home Security Systems (23%)
4. Smart Home Assistants/Hubs (20%)
5. Bluetooth Printers (19%)
6. Smart Home Automation (19%)
7. Laptops/Tablets (18%)
8. Smart TVs (17%)
9. Smart Appliances (14%)
10. Home Energy, Lighting and Switches (13%)

Tech Activities That Stress Out CES Attendees the Most

1. Troubleshooting Tech That Worked Perfectly Yesterday (39%)
2. Security (27%)
3. Setting up a Device (27%)
4. Privacy (23%)
5. Helping Others With Their Tech (20%)
6. Managing or Connecting Multiple Devices (19%)
7. Wi-Fi Connectivity (19%)
8. Paying for Personal Data Storage (18%)
9. Learning a New Operating System (17%)
10. Choosing Which Brand To Purchase (17%)

To learn more about where you can get tech support and protection, visit

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