Techzim

Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates

advertisement
advertisement

Are developers missing an opportunity in gaming?

pc gaming
pc gaming
image credit: thebootube.com

I am beginning to realise that there is a massive gap in the IT industry in Zimbabwe. Everywhere I look I see people churning out mobile apps and business related software. I agree these are easy essential “commodities” (so to speak) in IT.

However I think we are missing another platform of interest, GAMING! There is so much that is involved here and many business and individuals just haven’t really grabbed the bull by the horns on this one!

There are many gaming enthusiasts in Zimbabwe; we just lack several very important things in order to pursue our passion. “But there’s no money to be made in gaming!” I hear you say. Well I beg to differ. I will ask you one question, “Have you actually done your research?”

Gaming as both a hobby and a profession has been around in IT for many years, and there are many ways to make some bucks in this “genre” of IT.

A great template to make “our” model on is South Africa, there are tons of gaming enthusiast stores, competitions, sponsors and even the largest gaming expo in Southern Africa, The rAge Gaming Expo.

Let’s talk a little about rAge. Not only is this the largest expo in our region, it is also the biggest gaming event in our region. With exhibitors from all over the world, IGN, THQ, Amazon, Logitech and Warner Bros, just to mention a few.

Let’s not forget the companies that come in to provide much needed snacks, drinks and more! The logistics to run something like this are huge, and so are the profits! (Did I raise any eye-brows with profits?) Now I am by no means a formidable business man, but I know when I can see a missed opportunity! Just take a look at what RAGE has to offer by checking their website.

As for the various clubs, LANS, and competitions this is what I found on Google today; click here
further proof that this hobby (or addiction as some would say) is going strong in our sister country! How can Zimbos not get on this band wagon?

Let’s take a quick look at just a few of the things where we can work on to improve and to expose our gamers out there.

Hardware

So far I have found one, yes just one, shop that is focused gaming hardware, and of all places it is in Chinhoyi! What about Harare, Bulawayo and even Mutare?

Hardware is an essential part of gaming, without it we are like fish out of water. There are a lot of little stores selling cheap knock-offs and such which just don’t even live up to what they are made out to be. Their quality is so far off the scale it’s unbelievable!

As gamers we need good quality GPU’s, Processors, RAM, HDD’s, motherboards and gaming cases. People have been exposed to (excuse my term) cheap rubbish for far too long. Let’s put an end to that! Before anything can be done to get gaming expos to run smoothly locally we need the tools first! Again Google has info here!
Software & Games

Agents, where are our Zimbabwean gaming agents? Does anyone know where to buy original games in Zimbabwe, or do we have to suffer the borders and go buy in SA? Having stores and agents in Zim would mean we have faster access to new games, and therefore improve a lot of our gaming performances individually and as teams.

Groups and Clubs

At the moment I don’t know of any official groups or clubs that are dedicated to gamers. Since my return home, I have created both a Facebook Page and a Whatsapp group; to date we still have not had a get together.

I have seen one or two other groups on FB but they appear to be inactive. I have sent requests to join these groups and up to now no response. Having LAN parties is the best way for gamers to get together and discuss ways forward in gaming, new games, and new tech involved with gaming and so forth.

One of the other upsides to gaming is the exposure it gives to (what we like to call them) n00bz, this is not a term to be looked down on as we were all n00bz before, it simply means Newbie, or new guy, heck even in some cases I am still a n00b.

Venue is a HUGE issue, especially in Harare. Some of the guys I have on my group live so far apart. I have approached some places about setting something up and because of the lack of knowledge I either get a blank stare or am turned away because they think of gaming as gambling. I welcome all who wish to assist us in developing this industry, because it is an industry!

Marketing

What better way to market your company, than to sponsor a club, team or individual? A well-known company from South Africa that is in the wholesale and retail sector of IT has its own team, and this team goes to as many of the well-established LAN parties in SA, FRAGG LAN, NAG LAN and rAge to mention a few.

Even Coca-Cola SA sponsors at some of these weekly/monthly events. The majority of gamers are all between the ages of 10 and 45 years. I have heard in some cases of 78year old gamers! (Yeah shocked me too) These are all part of a market which is ready to be tapped, not milked like cows!

I am probably going to have some say that the “economic” situation in Zimbabwe is a drawback, I totally disagree. We constantly come up with excuses as to why something cannot be done. Some of them that I have heard from various people and businesses (with a little personal note from myself);

There are not enough people – UM really? Have you even really looked? Some people have grown tired of waiting or searching that they eventually give up and start ordering online, or going to SA to buy their games or components and ultimately end up not being part of social groups, therefore silencing themselves from you.

The economy sucks – It only sucks because you don’t try hard enough!

People don’t know what they want – have you tried to actually listen to them, or even do any research into what needs they might have?

I also encourage you all to get involved in social media like Facebook, look up the various groups for gamers in Zimbabwe, join them, offer them assistance be it technical advice, sponsorship or even a venue and above all LEARN what our needs and wants are.

This is a huge market and we can put our minds together we can come up with some awesome events and social gatherings.

 This article was written by tech and gaming enthusiast Mark Fulton. He has experience in hardware maintenance and tech sales. He loves working with computers, horse riding and rugby. He can be e-mailed on markdbfulton@gmail.com


Quick NetOne, Econet, And Telecel Airtime Recharge

16 thoughts on “Are developers missing an opportunity in gaming?

  1. nice article however as a programmer i know why we are not making games. Its damn expensive. You need a highly specced laptop which cost at least a thousand bucks, some software to make life easier which will cost about the same and lets not forget marketing.
    I aint saying it cant or shouldn’t be done. Just takes some investment in the craft.

      1. Why waste time with PS3 and 4? Where you should be looking at is PC! People seem over enamoured by console, when PC offers a lot more especially in modifications and customisation.

        1. PS3 and PS4 isn’t a “waste” yet somehow you’re right…and wrong lol. In Zimbabwe, generally I would agree that making games for PCs would make them more accessible to a wider audience but the flip side is that of piracy. Honestly how many PC gamers do you know in Zimbabwe that have original games? Very few. At the end of the day it depends on who you’re targeting. As for PC modifications and customisation…Consoles are “plug and play” in the sense that you don’t have to study the back of the CD case to see whether the game you just purchased will run at max settings on your console. Not to mention the cost involved in upgrading a PC. The cost of a high end graphics card capable of running all games on max often equals but more often dwarfs the cost of an entire console before you’ve even considered buying other parts, so the point you make depends on what you’re looking for out of gaming.

          1. actually making games for ps3 and ps4 is a bit challenging and i really wouldn’t know where to start (haven’t researched not going to waste my time its harder on consoles distributing CDs unnecessary extra hassles for starters like us) but PC will always be the father of gaming and will always have the most gamers no matter what better graphics and no you don’t have to run games on max graphics that is just a luxury or dream that is not really needed you can always just go to 720p ps3,xbox one resolutions and console graphics and you’re fine 900p for ps4 most casual gamers don’t even check the graphics i mean if you have a normal laptop/desktop big chance you’re just casual and you never necessarily looked for gaming specs max graphics isn’t necessary they will just play if it’s playable and not too laggy. like the sims for example many play the game even mothers who don’t even play games play it because its on pc it’s accesible most of them have laptops so why not play the sims sitting down with a console which needs a tv and everything will get less likely players so it’s advisable to start on PC.

  2. years ago, yoafrica hosted a website called http://www.cybergames.co.zw. there were LAN events organised every few weeks as well as major events at the annual ICT shows. generally as time went on, people started to lose interest, and that whole site went offline. yoafrica hosted local servers for WOW, CS and a few others… it did have a huge community back in its day. i personally moved onto console gaming where PSN and XBOX live make it easy and convenient to play games online..upgrading hardware all the time, as well as games not being released for PC made it a logical choice.

    1. The cybergames prizes were a years free internet (at the time worth over 1500) per game which there were 4 or 5 so some pretty decent sponsorship from yo, think it fell away when lans stopped coming as common due to ironically internet penetration and more online gaming. Those used to be the days.

  3. I applied for a PS4 DEVKIT and it cost an arm and a leg (US$10 000 ). However we need to start learning to develop for pc and to create simple animations I know one zimbo guy who is extremely good in animation. We aimed at developing a Zim Themed game and had even approached UbiSoft who did give us a certificate of interest and were keen on the project but the initial cost were just beyond us as we had to come up with a proof of concept but financially it was a tall order just to get the good hardware

  4. I think the root problem besides the money is assembling a team .I basically luk down upon costs coz you start really small targeting platforms tht are less costly (Windows , Linux ,Android ,iOS , …) and subsequently move on to greener pastures (PS , XBox ) eg(Minecraft , World of Goo ,Angry Birds , … ) .Most Zim programmers are apps programmers and thtz a huge problem because game programming is a ‘behemoth’ (depending with the scale obviously Angry Birds , Rayman – are somewhat simpler so im jus going to refer to 3D games C.O.D , Far Cry , … coz if we master those every game concievable 2D , 2.5D is jus a piece of cake) to tackle i mean the subsystems involved are enough to hint what im talking about (Graphics , Networking , AI , Animation , …) .I dont remember a Game Design module @ N.U.S.T and thz delimiting as well.If there’s any1(programmer/artist/designer) out there interested in buildin a 2D cross-plat game reply to this comment & ill gv u my contact dets …

  5. Instead of complaining about costs, which i dont belive to be much of an issue if you get an FBC card, you can order items online, at a fraction of the cost some of the stores sell at! At the end of the day its pretty much up to you the “Gamer” to get your gear! The pure lack lusture and BLAME game people play is actually rediculous! If you are a True enthusiast and serious enough you will find a way. hook up with the Zimb0 Gamerz on facebook! we will teach you a thing or 2!

  6. Just to rectify,
    This article wasnt ment only for developers, it was aimed at everyone interested in Gaming, from a business perspective to pleasure. Many apologies for the misleading Title.

  7. Looking at some of the comments here some people just haven’t put enough research into this you don’t necessarily need a big budget for developing games you just need ideas, a team that’s capable of doing the necessary things a good desktop (probably the only thing you might need money on but if you play games a lot you, you should already own one so basically no costs) animator, model creator, coder, other smaller things. getting funds is easy enough for the game just think about it, it’s really all easy and start on PC. 🙂

Comments are closed.