While the unemployment rate in South Africa in the first quarter of 2015 was at its highest level since 2003, employment in the SA game development industry has increased by 5%, which shows great potential when a number of other industries are showing signs of economic strain. As a relatively small industry, the growth in its estimated value has been phenomenal with an increase of 82% during 2014 in revenue from 2013, from R29 million to R53 million.
Geoff Burrows, Founder of Zero Degrees Games, explains: “The world of gaming, although relatively small in South Africa, is showing a steady growth rate. This means that sustainable career opportunities are being created, as well as an increase in revenue contributing to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Globally gaming is an industry valued at an estimated US$ 91.5 billion; with South Africa in dire need for job creation, gaming is well positioned to provide the platform.”
At first glance the current lack of diversity in the local game development industry looks like a major concern, with only 1% of game developers being black, and 3% representing females, yet Burrows sees this as a real opportunity for black and female developers to break into the market and radically transform where the industry is going.
This year at the annual rAge expo (9-11 October), NAG will once again be sponsoring the floor space for the home_coded stand. home_coded is an initiative that was started by NAG in November 2012 with an aim to showcase the very best in South African game development talent, and promote local growth in this exciting industry. Not only can you meet the local devs and interview them, but you’ll be able to play all their latest games that are still in development.
The digital revolution is exposing technology and programming to a wider audience than ever before, whilst creating new career opportunities. Gaming enables the youth to become involved with coding and technology at a young age, and could even transform how businesses are run in the future.
Burrows explains how rAge and NAG are helping develop future game developers: “The floor space for the home_coded stand is provided at no cost, and NAG has also secured stand construction and basic facilities like lighting and electricity at minimal cost. The rest is up to the local game developers! This is not only a great marketing opportunity for the developers, but a chance to see what it’s like to have a “real” booth at a big gaming show: they have a 2x2m stand to do with what they choose. This initiative is aimed at driving local talent and creating an environment where all of our demographic groups can come together, learn together, and drive this industry into the future.”