Emerge Gaming moves forward with South African eSports commercial plan
Gaming and eSports are set to take yet another step forward into wider proliferation with today’s news that gaming company Emerge Gaming (ASX: EM1) has unveiled plans to white label its “Arcade X” technology, thereby creating a new online gaming platform called ‘EPLAY’.
The platform is expected to be launched on 1 August, 2018, in South Africa for an initial 3-month campaign and will offer its services and content to South African users on mobile networks such as MTN, Vodacom and CellC.
The unique service feature being provided by Emerge – airtime billing integration – allows platform users to enter to pay a daily fee of 50 cents ($15 per month) to enter and play in tournaments hosted by EPLAY.
According to Emerge Gaming, EPLAY will be operated under a licensing and revenue share agreement with AfricaMob, a wholly owned subsidiary of eMedia Holdings.
As part of their partnership, the two companies are aiming to access as many as 50 million users in South Africa alone.
Billing and gaming
Under the proposed licencing agreement, Emerge is entitled to a share of net carrier billing revenue generated from the white-labelled and rebranded Arcade X platform.
The deal between Emerge and AfricaMob could potentially be indicative of a growing trend which is seeing various content being offered as part of mobile carrier billing, rather than being offered in exchange for incremental card payments much like in Western countries.
One other feature Emerge is determined to promote is ‘Arcade X Mobi’ a method for casual gamers to play over 300 casual games on their mobile devices. Emerge plans to integrate corporate advertising into its service offering on Arcade X, thereby generating “a key revenue stream” for the company.
Emerge Gaming’s business model is supported by global gaming statistics released for 2017 where social and casual gamers represent 90% of the 2.1 billion global gamers, of which 844 million engage in mobile gaming.
On a broader note, the proliferation of ‘gaming’ has reached unprecedented levels to the point of eclipsing existing entertainment titans such as movies, music and book sales.
The commercial gaming opportunity in South Africa is inextricably linked to mobile phone adoption, capability and connectivity. Emerge is hoping to partner with leading local companies such as AfricaMob in order to generate business and extend its market footprint in Africa.
AfricaMob creates online and mobile social gaming, video, music and content services and has established products and services in South Africa, integrating three major mobile operators in bringing content services to the end user.
Carrier billing has allowed AfricaMob to establish a growing user base and with multiple smart billing technologies integrated, has created an industry-leading mobile service with strong lifetime value and average revenue per user.
Plugging in EPLAY
According to Emerge Gaming, EPLAY is a “cutting-edge” platform that provides enhanced eSports capabilities to spectators. These capabilities are expected to result in high user-retention rates with Emerge deciding to initially launch 40 of its best games to ensure mass adoption and long engagement.
Emerge Gaming says that “all games will be available across all devices” and is already planning on raising its brand exposure to around 45 million eMedia viewers, which it says will achieve “at minimal cost”.