The African shaped hole in game launch maps is very annoying

On Tuesday, the official Call of Duty Twitter account announced when pre-loading would become available for Modern Warfare 2.

This announcement was made by way of a map showcasing when a particular region would be able to pre-load the game.

Notice anything odd? If you said that the African continent, home to roughly 1.2 billion people, was simply ignored you’d be bang on the money.

The quoted tweets of that announcement are awash with locals dragging Activision Blizzard for once again failing to acknowledge the African continent.

However, we think the problem is becoming a bit more serious than simply being excluded from a map.

FIFA 23 local reviews

By our count, there was one local publication which was able to produce a FIFA 23 review and that review wasn’t even published on launch day.

We checked all of the major gaming publications based in South Africa and none had published a review on launch day.

There could be several reasons for this but it was an absence that we took note of.

Our suspicion for a lack of FIFA 23 boils down to a lack of representation for publishers in South Africa. While there are firms that do represent some of the bigger brands, their communication with us tends to be recycled press releases forwarded 24 hours after they are published globally.

Review codes need to be requested but even if you put forward such a request, chances are slim that you will receive a code ahead of launch.

When a review code is provided, it’s usually on launch day. The trouble here is that international embargoes for reviews have usually already lifted making any sort of review published after the fact a non-starter.

This creates a vicious feedback loop in that publishers don’t get the sort of traction they want to see from their investment and as such, they dial back that investment.

At first glance this makes no sense but perhaps there is more to this.

Research firm Mordor Intelligence forecasts that gaming will explode on the African continent but the type of game that will explode isn’t clear.

The report, which you can find here, forecasts that there will be 11 million gamers in South Africa by 2026. Yes, South Africa isn’t Africa but it is the largest gaming market on the continent.

“South Africa is one of the largest video game markets in Africa. The market has overtaken the market in movies and music in the country,” reads the report.

However, that report also suggests that gamers in South Africa are increasingly moving toward free-to-play games with in-game purchases.

That report also suggests the gaming industry in Africa will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.5 percent. This outpaces the 8.53 percent expected from the global video game market.

Importantly, this growth is across platforms so publishers really can’t say Africa is a mobile-only market. Yes, mobile phones are incredibly prevalent on the continent but to assume PCs, Xbox and PlayStation consoles aren’t anywhere to be seen is silly.

Is being left out of the release map that big of a deal? Yes. Representation is important and right now, we don’t feel the likes of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft, Sony or any of the other big gaming houses really care about the African market.

We’re very happy to be proven wrong this time though.


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