A Look Into the History Of Mobile Gaming And The Most Popular Games in South Africa


South Africa has one of the fastest-growing gaming industries in the world, with much of the country's success coming from its mobile gaming segment. In 2023, South Africa's mobile games market is expected to reach more than US $302.20 million in revenue, which is expected to grow to just under $400 million by 2027.

While this does not compare to, for example, China's mobiles games market, which is expected to bring in $81 million in revenue in 2023, we know South Africa's user penetration in the mobiles games market is continuing to rise — 23.5% in 2023— which makes it hard not to be bullish about the future of the market in the country in the coming years. But what defines mobile gaming, and what are the most popular games in South Africa?

The Rise of Mobile Gaming 

Mobile gaming refers to playing any game on a mobile device, such as an iPhone or Android phone, and tablets, such as iPads. Mobile gaming began in the late 1990s when the action video game Snake was preloaded on Nokia phones. Since then, the mobile games industry has expanded rapidly, with a significant push from the success of American technology company Apple, which created the iOS App Store, introducing users to various mobile gaming genres.

Additionally, Android games have become just as popular due to the increasing quality of the games. This increase in quality is largely due to Android mobile games offering more gameplay and well-designed graphics.

Source: Pixabay

Genre Popularity in South Africa

Interestingly, in South Africa, one of the country's most popular gaming segments is the mobile puzzles market. The number of downloads of puzzle games was expected to reach 47 million in 2022, and the market is projected to generate a total revenue of more than $30 million by 2027. While from a consumer perspective, puzzle games are a great way to keep their mind engaged, businesses are also benefiting from this genre's popularity. For example, advertising revenue in the market was forecasted to reach over $5 million in 2022.

The mobile gambling market is also popular in South Africa. It has been forecasted that over 70% of adults play mobile casino games in the country, with some popular niches including online casino real money games. Real-money games are available in different formats, such as online poker, slot games and blackjack, as well as American and European Roulette. Unsurprisingly, the significant rise in adults playing mobile casino games can be credited to widespread access to the internet, as well as constantly evolving devices with features such as large screens to optimise the graphics available within online casino games.

South Africa has witnessed incredible growth in its mobile technology industry over the last few years, such as its fast-growing mobile banking sector. South Africa's mobile banking sector witnessed even more expansion in 2020, with 42% of South Africans saying they're increasing their use of online and mobile interactions. However, people may not also know that the country has a thriving mobile gaming market due to the range of games available and the flexibility of play.

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