Early December last year IGN landed in Africa - to the applause of gamers on the continent.
Perhaps the launch of IGN Africa slipped past you in the rush of the end of the year, but then now is all the more time to sit up and take notice. IGN.com reaches 40 million unique visitors worldwide and apart from the United States it has sites in Australia, Asia Pacific, Benelux, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Middle East, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
In November last year Ziff Davis International and Instance Media announced a partnership between the two to publish IGN Africa across South Africa and emerging markets across the southern African content in the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region.
On a mission
The person responsible for bringing the premium gaming and entertainment site to Africa is Michael James, director and owner of NAG (magazine) and the annual gaming show and expo, rAge (for Instance Media). For James the fit between the three brands is a no-brainer.
(Image extracted from the IGN Africa website)
He explains that IGN has been on a mission to expand their brand across the globe but Africa was a big blank mark on their map. "By chance I happened to be in LA and so we met and had some discussions."
The launch of IGN Africa has been met with passion and excitement by gamers. "The response has been very good. We have a detailed breakdown of the users. Obviously South Africa has the most users then (in no order) Kenya, Nigeria, Mauritius, and Uganda are active."
Building... country by country
The plan for Africa is to work territory by territory and grown a network of independents and partners over the next two years. However, James says they are treading carefully for now, and literally "throwing out a line and seeing what we get".
So far the profile is very much in line with the US and worldwide profile: predominantly male, ages 18 to 30 and LSM 7 to 10. "The profile and the numbers are the hard sell, but what advertisers must understand about people into gaming and technology is that one you have them you will have them forever, but only if you treat them properly," says James.
Gaming is expensive and so brands would do well to gain the loyalty of these early adapters. "The overall trend is that gaming is growing, especially online gaming. It has been the trend for a while now. I don't know when this might end, but right now, despite some challenges, it is growing."
People want quality
What makes IGN Africa a choice destination for gamers is that it stands out from the noise on the internet. "Online gaming is bigger and better and offers numbers, but there is a lot of trashy stuff out there and people are looking for substantial, quality content. IGN Africa offers that."
James sees the addition of IGN Africa to their portfolio as the opportunity to grow gaming not only in South Africa, but also throughout Africa. "The thinking is to get more people to be dedicated gamers as this uplifts the whole sector as they participate more (for example by attending rAge) and buying more games and technology."
Danette Breitenbach was the editor and publisher of Advantage, the publication that served the marketing, media and advertising industry in southern Africa. Before her editorship, she was deputy-editor as well as freelancing for over a year on the publication before that. She has worked extensively in print media, mainly B2B, in the fields of marketing, mining, disability marketing, advertising and media.
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