Entertainment is not all that big in Zimbabwe, more so when looking at the case of local gamers and how gaming communities are so isolated. Looking at our neighbor South Africa we could see how big gaming is in our region, where there are forums as well as commercial LAN and online gaming tournaments.
Me being a gamer, I know the most engaging part when gaming is battling it out in a live event with your fellow mates in a full blown LAN session showing off skills acquired from endless hours of plastering the CPU in its hardest setting.
I remember going through the internet sometime last year and it was said that Call Of Duty players spent 25 BILLION hours online and I just wondered, time is the world’s most precious resource. If we have spent more of it gaming than we have existed on this planet, surely there is something more to it.
So why is it not taken seriously in Zimbabwe? I am part of a community of gamers from all over Harare, some as far as Chitungwiza and we come from all walks of life and gaming is actually a big thing happening out there. Its becoming more and more accessible to a broader community especially in tertiary institutions where a laptop has become a basic requirement in these institutions. So if we have the hardware and the software, then what’s holding us back from making it big?
Well from my few years in the gaming community I saw its facing 3 major hurdles namely
- Central, convenient and affordable venues
- Affordable, fast and reliable internet
- Gaming community platform
The games are there and with the shift of the demographics in favor of PC gamers as opposed to console gamers, it is getting easier to get the latest games as they come. One of the head-scratchers of a gaming community has been finding a venue that is convenient to everyone with respect to location. If one such location does get to sprout up the venue would often charge a leg and an arm which then ruins the turnout.
If you wish to sharpen your skills with a broader audience online then you are left at the mercy of our local internet providers where in the case of most Zimbabweans the internet packages that are being subscribed for are the most basic ones offering speeds that in most cases do not meet online gaming requirements. Online gamers will sympathize with me that no buzz kill beats that experienced from the dreaded LAG.
What I think is the biggest drawback of the Zimbabwean gaming community is the lack of a proper platform for gamers. What I mean is imagine a website or better yet a mobile app which allows gamers to register on it, throw in their locations and if a certain location is hosting a LAN, every gamer gets a notification of details of the event.
I’m positive each city and each suburb in Zimbabwe has at least one gaming community. The numbers are most definitely there, but I feel the experience can be further enriched if these communities converge at a LAN event.
Also, I see this being a huge opportunity for internet providers as well as IT software and hardware retailers to showcase their products to an audience that potentially is their biggest and most reliable market. I mean not many people know there are stores like FuserTech that sell high-end gaming computer hardware and accessories.
If lets say these companies host an annual LAN and offer consolation prizes to winners in the form of maybe free unlimited internet or a high-end GPU, I know for sure,as a gamer, I would not think twice when attending that event.
If it gets big enough, collaborations can be made with regional gaming organizations and international tournaments can be held as well I mean who says we cannot have gaming Olympics?! Already mobile games like Clash of Clans are attracting serious attention in the mobile online gaming arena. Im sure if the reduction in mobile data tarrifs comes through, more and more mobile gamers will come onboard.
Gaming, if taken seriously has the capacity of being a profession where some serious gamers out there are raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars in tournaments as well as online. What better way to blow your time than on what raises the hair on your skin and gets your adrenaline pumping!
Console, PC and Mobile gamers out there, I don’t know if you see our local community as big as I do. If so I would love to find out how you feel on local gaming. If you are in gaming groups on social media tell us the group and how many members it has. Hit us up in the comments! Show that within the Republic Of Zimbabwe that there is an actual Republic Of Gamers.