Online gaming in SA booming

2012-08-13 11:26

Cape Town - Online gaming in South Africa is growing at a tremendous speed, despite various limitations.

Internet service provider MWEB has hit three record months of gaming numbers in a row. July 2012 saw a total of 58 000 unique users playing online games on their network, a increase of around 30% from the previous year.

This number does not include casual games that use MWEB's ADSL, like those played on Facebook.

"It's nothing clever. We're looking after our customers. We're following the same trends from overseas," Desmond Kurz, MWEB's online gaming manager told News24.

MWEB is looking to double the number of users in a year's time. "A small fraction of people that have Xboxes or PlayStations in South Africa currently play online," said Kurz. "We believe it's on a steep growing curve."

MWEB's gaming portal, Gamezone, manages over 160 of its own dedicated gaming servers for over 50 titles. The tally increases to over 500 servers hosted on their network when their partners are taken into consideration.

All gaming traffic gets priority on the MWEB network, including traffic related to Xbox live, PlayStation network and all online games, said Kurz.


Despite this growth, MWEB continually battles with infrastructure limitations and international content.

"We can’t always get the content local so we have to rely a lot on the international stuff," said Kurz. The servers of games like World of Warcraft are based in Europe and the US. MWEB acquired a large amount of international bandwidth that gives local gamers the capacity to play these games.

Kurz said they plan to get more South Africans into competitive gaming. The more gamers get noticed in the international community, the more concessions MWEB will get and be able to host more games locally.

News24 is part of, a subsidiary of Media24, which is in the Naspers stable. MWEB is a subsidiary of Naspers.

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  • stephanfourie - 2012-08-13 11:44

    I AM ONE OF THE 58000 - WHOOHOO and I must admit that MWEB is doing a great job with their gaming traffic. I play Battlefield 2 and 3 as well as other XBOX titles online and the only time I have problems connecting is when the overseas servers are highly utilized. GREAT JOB MWEB!

      klippies.coke.7 - 2012-08-13 11:48

      Yeap, if you're into online gaming MWEB is the way to go. When other ISP's have international Seacom issues and getting phone calls from frustrated customers MWEB users carry on gaming without any problems. Just wish they'd drop their 4MB uncapped ADSL price ;-)

      nico.loubser.180 - 2012-08-13 11:55

      Hi stephanfourie. I'm also one of the 58000. Look for me on the BF3 battlefield brother. My nick is pulls_out_2_uzis :)

      sean.carbutt - 2012-08-13 14:30

      I Hate to say this, trust me, but i am with the devil, yes, Telkom. I have had nothing but good service from them. It took me 10 days from applying to a fully installed and working 10 meg line. My line never drops, is always steady at about 7.2 mbps [line is only 8 due to copper issues]. But they are expensive, i wish that the devil would sort out its pricing. My mates overseas in both the mid west USA and some places like the viking countries get fibre at 40 mbps and upwards. There costs for uncapped and unshaped are way, way less than ours, probably half.

      michael.vanrheenen.9 - 2012-08-13 14:47

      I am also on of the 58000... Battlefield 3 al the way!!!! You COD users can come and kiss my @ss! Best game ever! Can't wait for Medal of Hounor in the next few months as well. Also developed by EA and Frostbite...

      nektosha - 2012-08-13 16:28

      I personally don't play COD online(218 hours bf3) but its a good game

      JSGericke - 2012-08-13 18:27

      @ssean.carbutt - Where are you based Bud? I'm in Pretoria on the "Do Premium" package, but only manage around 3.9mbps?

  • grant.cloete.9 - 2012-08-13 12:07

    Yeeeah. Now THIS is good news.

  • Yannick Michel Colin Pousson - 2012-08-13 12:17

    This is great to hear! if only telkom put get their act together we would be on par with the rest of the world! Any saffas on BF3 PS3?

      sean.carbutt - 2012-08-13 14:33

      Yeah bud, i be in there. go to battlelog and look for GFY. We have a SA clan for the PS3. Here is a link!/bf3/platoon/2832655241412472753/

      Truth7 - 2012-08-13 17:36


  • lydonmcg - 2012-08-13 13:50

    I get amazing pings to the likes of World of Warcraft and Guild Wars all day. Gone are the days of 450ms pings being "acceptable." Never thought I'd see the day I get average pings of 172ms overseas!

  • Dean - 2012-08-13 15:31

    My guess is that Telkom will not be around when broadband internet is everywhere. Their technology is obsolete not to mention extremely expensive (when you look at line rentals etc). I have a Wireless ISP which costs half the price for double the speed which Telkom promised, but could not deliver because their technology is redundant. Nothing like having 110ms on international servers. :) Also, wireless technology is making more headway and is also becoming more affordable.

      wo0two0t - 2012-08-13 16:23

      What kind of wireless do you have to get 110ms international as in Europe/US? You would struggle to get that from the melkbosstrand landing station never mind a DSL/Fibre line.

      nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-16 07:22

      tell us more, which ISP, what is the service called?

  • bruce.bouwer - 2012-08-13 16:09

    Anyone on this thread part of an official school league? We will be hosting the South African National Schools eSports Championships at our premises on 10 Sept, email for more information Games: Warcraft III and Counter Strike. National Colours up for grabs.

  • TurkishZA - 2012-08-13 17:15

    TF2 wft!

  • s4turnz - 2012-08-13 18:51

    of that 58 000, probably 40 000 are smurf accounts

  • francois.v.eeden.3 - 2012-08-13 23:10


  • nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-16 07:30

    My kids & myself have been playing Halo & COD online since 2008 & have seen all my kids friends change to Xbox & play online in the last year. Despite our latency problems, you can still play without too much of a disadvantage, but I have been waiting patiently for 10 Megs for years now. I currently have a Web Africa 4 Megabit Home Pro account, which I pay R 1200 pm (including line). My ping times to UK are about 200 ms, NY about 230ms & LA about 320 ms with relatively low jitter, but the jitter has increased quite a bit lately & latency has also increased. Anyone with a better option? anyone know what Telkoms role out plans are for MSAN (multi service Access Nodes), this looks like the only hope for us to get decent access speeds, because they have reached their 200 000 milestone number for the 10 Meg ADSL & probably wont spend much more on this.

  • nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-16 07:35

    anyone heard of WAGE ..see

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