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Gaming a multi-million dollar industry

By Nico Gous | 2017-10-11 12:06:50.0

What does it take to become a full-time video game player in South Africa? Probably living with your parents.

Ruan van Wyk, 24, is from Port Elizabeth and studied engineering, but his dream is to become an international Counter-Strike player.

"My parents were never supportive of the fact that I played games until I showed them two years ago how big [the rAge expo] is," he said.

For five days a week from 6-11pm he becomes "Elusive", his alias in the Bravado Gaming team. They participated in the finals of the ESL African Championship at the rAge gaming, technology and geek culture expo in Johannesburg this past weekend.

They lost in the finals against compatriots Energy eSports, but earned about R157000 in prize money. Energy eSports won about R314000.

Van Wyk said top international players earn about R450000 per month and teams live together under one roof with the necessary game and physical training.

The Bravado team consists of four full-time gamers and one member who is currently in matric. "We've got a doctor in the team. He is taking a gap year now."

Van Wyk believes if you want to draw people into the gaming industry, you have to "talk numbers".

The global video gaming industry is worth about R1.3-trillion. According to a report by Serious About Games (SAG), South Africa's game development industry increased its revenue from R29.7-million in 2014 to R100-million last year.

"The older generation, they feel like we are all wasting our time. You are sitting in front of the computer. You cannot possibly make money off of it," Van Wyk said.