By Eugene Scholtz, Product Manager: Gaming, Vox

By 2024, almost 600 million people will be watching eSports globally. More significantly, the worldwide eSports market was valued at just over $1 billion this year with Asia and North America representing the biggest share of the revenues. Even though it is still a niche pursuit in South Africa, there is significant potential for eSports given the availability of Xbox gaming consoles for rent, thereby democratising gaming to those who might not have previously considered it from an affordability perspective.

The benefits of eSports are well-documented with competitors attaining skills considered essential for the digital environment. These foundational skills can range from critical thinking and self-confidence to problem-solving and pushing for achievement. From a performance perspective, eSports athletes have significantly improved decision-making capabilities, motor and timing skills, as well as high attention spans to remain focused for hours at a time.

Furthermore, gamers have high emotional intelligence and a great deal of creativity typically associated with problem-solving. High cognitive awareness and self-esteem are added benefits from a personal development side. Even though many consider eSports to be a solitary pursuit, many games take place in team environments. This requires effective communication, leadership, people management, and negotiation skills.

Sports for all

Clearly, the stereotypes of gaming must change. These are athletes of a different kind who put in the hours to compete at a high level. And while not every gamer becomes a professional, the opportunities do exist to become a full-time eSports athlete especially as affordable, high-speed connectivity becomes available to more South Africans.

Up to now, one of the challenges when it comes to gaming in this country has been that very few people could afford the R7,000 to R12,000 of a new Xbox Series S and Series X, respectively. However, Vox has both these powerful consoles available for rental. Considering that the December holidays are around the corner, retailers have already experienced stock shortages whereas Vox still has units readily available for gamers of all ages.

The retail value proposition

With rental periods from 12, 24, or 36 months to choose from, and pricing starting from R420 per month, it has been a case of making gaming available to all South Africans. Launched in October last year, Vox has already seen great uptake with an increase of approximately 5-10% per month in applications for the units signifying how necessary the rental option is in a developing country like South Africa.

In addition to the affordability aspect, the Xbox can be ordered online, and delivery is door-to-door. Furthermore, the extended warranty means the unit can be replaced if it is faulty. Even better, a gamer can start with the Xbox S console and effortlessly upgrade it to the Xbox X later in the term of the rental contract. Vox will simply send a new quote and deliver the unit in exchange for the older model.