For many it's a hobby and to others, an escape from the real world. The subject of gaming on RX Radio today enveloped the discussion on the Hear Me Out Show hosted by Daniel Omara, a passionate gamer that prides as a guru in his favourite Tekken game series.
Although it arouses a lot of interest to many, (video) gaming continues to be shallowly explored on the African continent and dwells in the life of a few usually (children) and adults that make time to include it in their routine.
A guest host on the show Sir Wilfred, a racing game specialist, also creator of Motion Pictures, said that the low gaming rates in Africa has made the continent unnoticeable as a target market for game companies. He defended this saying in Uganda particularly, the public hasn't been exposed to the monetary aspect that can be earned from playing them.
“The established order in Uganda doesn't see the value in gaming yet gamers have gained billions in twitch streaming that was based on gaming until the Only Fans models and feminist movement came in.”
In a relative opinion, another guest of the show Rickie Ivan added that the poor internet services being offered by telecom companies hinder the advancement of the industry in the country.
“Most games now are enjoyable when you're playing with other people online yet our speeds are very low. They say we are on fibre but it's like we aren’t. So we need more fibre because it makes it more enjoyable when the speed is fast.”
He further said that if people were informed about fibre internet, they would have embraced gaming more but with the limited yet expensive internet data bundles provided by telecom companies, people are discouraged to game.
Daniel Omara in his argument commented that the political environment has stagnated the development of the gaming industry saying that the restrictions placed on the internet especially in election times hinders potential service providers from investing in providing high speed internet services within Uganda.
“If I could provide excellent internet as an international internet service provider, would I risk it in a country where it could get switched off because someone doesn't like an opposition leader? Of course not, so the political climate is a major contributor,” Daniel said.
Further sliding into how gaming affects the mental health of players, Omara and his co-hosts explained how they deal with gaming that sometimes becomes a dangerous pursuit when one gets addicted to it.
In 2018, the addiction to gaming became a worldly concern due to how it affected gamers’ mental health and was thus announced a mental health condition by the World Health Organisation. Gaming addiction affects one's social life as they get more engulfed in the virtual world which they also turn to as an escape from the poor relationships they are not able to foster in society. It also poses health risks such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, poor sleeping patterns and carpal tunnel syndrome, to mention a few.
As a way of self regulating, Wilfred says he sets priorities to control his gaming through prioritising his job, saying that games are actually bad if there’s nothing better to do. He proposed that if one gets addicted to gaming, it means that they are probably skilled at it and can use their expertise to make money from it.
“Nowadays there are E-sports. In PUBG for instance, you can create a team, be competitive and probably win money.” Daniel also gave an example of Overwatch whose prize money was a million dollars for the team that won.
Ivan added that because of his tight work schedules, he prioritises gaming less and hence plays them only over the weekend, naming the Super Mario game on his phone which reminds him of his childhood.
“I treat games as a reward after a week’s completion of tasks and I give myself a day over the weekend to treat myself to gaming,” Daniel concluded.
Hear Me Out is hosted by Daniel Omara every Saturday from 10am to Midday on RX Radio.
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