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By 28 November 2018 | Categories: news

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It’s an interesting and paradoxical time to be living in South Africa. While we are in the midst of a technical recession, there is plenty of investment being made into the country. To name a few examples, we have seen Huawei, Amazon and Microsoft hedging their bets on a burgeoning cloud market, each bringing their weight and investment to bear. Joining them is Smartcall, a market leaders in prepaid cellular services and products, which has announced a R10 million investment into Mettlestate, a premium local e-sports authority.

Making Smartcall’s move even more interesting is that it isn’t in IT infrastructure, but rather in another burgeoning arena - the South African gaming and esports industry.

According to the company, the investment  is being billed as one of the biggest into SA gaming and esports to date,and  will be used to create and host various leagues consistently over the next few years.

Gearing up for growth

Barry Louzada, co-founder of Mettlestate, affirms that hosting more leagues is essential to driving sustainable and long-term growth for SA gaming and esports, and this investment by Smartcall will go a long way in this regard. “More leagues mean more opportunities for players at all skill levels and across various gaming titles to compete, with more rewards for the amount of time and passion they put into their craft,” he enthused.

“Since launching in March 2017, Mettlestate has hosted various leagues, tournaments and qualifiers for various gaming titles, where close to R2 million in prize money has been won by players across SA. Any investment big or small by a brand into the industry adds value. This investment by Smartcall will allow us to do even more amazing things and drive even more opportunities for gamers in South Africa. It’s very exciting. We’re really grateful that Smartcall, a credible brand with over 20 years of business under their belt, saw a trusted partner in Mettlestate,” continued Louzada.

Indeed, judging by the success of Bravado, an e-sports team sponsored by Alienware and competing on an international stage, South Africa’s visibility in the arena appears to be growing.  

Taking it to the next level

Jan Cronje, marketing manager of Smartcall, explained that Smartcall is always looking to adapt and expand its user base to new and exciting areas, and esports is currently doing just that on a global level. “With gaming having mobile ties in both the casual and esports space, it would be a wasted opportunity to not get involved in this industry and introduce it to a whole new group of people across South Africa. We’ve been watching and talking to Mettlestate for quite some time now, and their passion, drive and flawless execution of events and leagues that they host makes us feel comfortable that we’ve put our investment in the right place. Together, we can forge the future of South African esports,” says Cronje.

Reaching a new audience

As with any investment, there is an anticipated return, and part of this appears to be reaching a new audience. According to Mettlestate, the gaming and esports industry in South Africa has grown exponentially in the last few years, and continues to do so. Today, there are more teams than ever in the South African gaming space, with an increasing number of brands showing an interest in being a part of it. More brands are starting to realise that it is more difficult to reach the audience they want to reach by using “old” or “the usual” methods of marketing.

As well, in Mettlestate’s view, companies are apparently moving away from the conventional places that brands advertise, like TV, radio and billboards, and are realising that people are consuming content in so many new ways - on their mobile devices or streaming on their smart TVs and more - which makes it harder to target them using conventional methods. “A lot more brands are also starting to realise just how switched-on and loyal gamers are, which not only helps drive sales, but also driving conversation and engagement with brands online (via social media and beyond). The gaming space is as complex as it is exciting, which opens up so many opportunities for brands across the board,” Louzada added.

Promises, promises

Cronje echoed Louzada’s sentiment. “The loyalty, passion and dedication of Mettlestate and gamers across South Africa is what made this an easy investment for us. There are so many missed opportunities in the gaming and esports space, and it is time to start changing that for the better. This R10 million investment is not so much an investment as it is a long-term promise to gamers across South Africa that Smartcall is here to stay, and is prepared to help forge the future of South African esports together with Mettlestate,” affirms Cronje.

New leagues for various titles and skill levels will be announced over the next few months, and gamers can keep up to date with the latest news by connecting with Mettlestate online here, here or here:

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