White men dominate the South African games industry

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Game development may lead to cool products that we like to play with, but it’s also a serious industry. Make Games SA has looking into the industry with a survey and found out just how much money it’s worth in South Africa. They also found out about representation in gaming and it’s not that great locally.

First, the good news. The games industry is growing. Gaming development companies have created 253 jobs; the industry itself is worth R53 million. Having released 67 games in 2014, that’s really rather cool. There’s a fairly even split between the two main hubs for game development with 16 studios based in Cape Town and 14 in Joburg with an additional six in Pretoria. Interestingly, the three largest studios in the industry account for 48% of the industry value. Things will need to grow and transform quite a bit more before we have a truly mature industry, it seems.

It’s great to see the value of the games industry increasing, as well as a higher rate of full-time employment (a 55% increase from last year). However, I’m a bit concerned by the ownership of these games studios. They are 91% white male owned. If we dig into employees the numbers are a bit more diverse with 80% of the gaming workforce being white males, 12% white females and the remaining 8% a mixture of men from other ethnicities. The organization clearly sees a need for change in the industry:

Not reflected on the graph is a single coloured female. Alarmingly it appears there are no black females employed by the industry in any capacity. Similarly there are no Indian/Asian Females employed by the industry.

From a gender perspective the industry is still heavily skewed with men making up roughly 88.5% of the industry.
These statistics show a dire need to transformation in the industry.

I’m not at all surprised by this. It follows international trends – although the extreme nature of the stats is a bit shocking. I knew it was dominated by white males – just going to a MGSA meet up proves how male-dominated the industry is.

Last Updated: April 24, 2015

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. You can read more of my words over at www.borngeek.co.za, or just follow me on all the social networks to get the true range of my sarcasm and wit.

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