Despite gaming becoming more and more popular in South Africa and the continent as a whole, we’re still a tiny fraction of the world’s player-base in 2018, as confirmed by PC’s biggest marketplace: Steam.
This was revealed in a very out of character move on Valve’s part as they just released a massive dump of statistics about the Steam platform in 2018.
While it revealed some very interesting numbers and data that will surely benefit both developers and consumers in 2019, the most interesting part to us was a graph giving the breakdown of Steam’s playerbase in 2018, based on sales by region.
While the graph does not provide exact numbers or even a percentage, it does show that we’re lagging far behind – so much so that you may not even be able to spot Africa’s representation on the graph if you don’t zoom in, as its slice blends into South Asia’s demarcation.
We’ve embedded the graph below. Africa is represented in white and South Asia in grey which makes things difficult to see. Click on the graph to zoom in.
At this point some people will not at all be surprised by this result given the continents relatively low internet access, high rates of poverty and many other factors that would contribute to a low showing here, but it’s still a bit sad to see given how positive 2018 was in this space.
The game Semblance was one of the biggest local game launches of all time, landing on Steam as well as the eShop, making it the first South African game on the Switch and one of the first African games on Nintendo hardware. Local developer Free Lives – famous for Broforce – launched Genital Jousting with a splash and continue to make headlines with their early access VR game Gorn.
This is just some of the highlights within our borders, as Africa as a whole had other accomplishments to match ours.
Continuing the positivity somewhat is that grim graph itself, as it appears that Africa has increased its Steam playerbase in the past six years.
If you’d like to read more about Steam’s 2018 Year in Review, you can do so right here. One last interesting point about South Africa here is that we had local pricing far before Australia. Steam made the switch to rands back in 2015, with Australia only getting that luxury last year.