MTN has just launched Arena: a paid subscription service at R3 per day that offers monthly tournament prizes to the value of R100 000.

What makes this slightly different is the fact that it isn’t the competitive mobile games you may expect like PUBG or Fortnite. Instead MTN Arena focuses on casual games with a press release we received mentioning titles like Spider-Man: Mysterio Rush and Star Wars Rebels: Special Ops.

If you go to the MTN Arena website you will find a slew of browser games we haven’t even heard of. Stuff like “Candy Bubble” and “Pirates of Islets” are just two of them.

Tournaments for these games will take place daily, weekly, monthly and on weekends.

We’re left rather perplexed by all of this. With almost every piece of software becoming a subscription service we’re not sure South Africans want to be paying for some lower quality games, especially daily. The brand-name games like the aforementioned Spider-Man and Star Wars titles can be played for free on their official websites.

Sure there’s no prize money or tournaments involved like with MTN Arena, but we really wouldn’t want to grind these simplistic games for cash. Maybe we’re in the minority here, and maybe the payouts on the service justify the whole endeavour.

“We believe that the future of e-sports is mobile. In making prize tournaments available to the mass market in an inexpensive way, and without the need for large downloads, we hope to give our customers a new, exciting digital experience, whilst opening up the world of competitive gaming to users who would not normally have access to tournaments,” says Ernst Fonternel, chief digital officer for MTN South Africa, maybe answering our question in a release.

One final note for anyone thinking of jumping in is how winnings will be paid out. This will be handled by MTN’s mobile money app MoMo.

The three displayed popular games on MTN Arena.