A large number of South African gamers probably think their gaming world exists – by and large – around the three major cities of the country. It’s easy to think that way too when you see launch events and other functions seemingly only happen in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. However, beyond those – at times community driven – cities, there exists similar gaming communities driven by the same kind of passionate gamers who just so happen to stay in the “smaller” cities around the country.
Unlike the larger cities, cities like Port Elizabeth need to more steadfastly rely on community members to make things happen for themselves. Step up Sector 17. Situated at 66a Westbourne Rd, Port Elizabeth the broad concept for the business is: “internet and gaming lounge”. It is however – as is needed to survive in gaming in South Africa – quite a bit more than that. We’ll let Charles Greeff tell you a little more, but suffice to say, if you’re in search of a gaming fix when you’re next holidaying (or indeed staying) in Port Elizabeth, you know where to go.
How long has Sector 17 Gaming been around?
Sector 17 have be around for almost two years and is based in Port Elizabeth.
You offer a multitude of services at the shop – give us a brief outline of what they are.
We have divided our services into 4 different divisions.
Division 1. Gaming club – We have a small group of +/- 30 local gamers – mostly Xbox – that come together on a Saturday evening to LAN and generally just to have a great time
Division 2. Internet café – We have a fully operated internet cafe with a coffee and Snack bar that provides printing, copying and faxing services
Division 3. Retail – Our store offers retail on all platform games, gaming console, pc parts and repairs on all gaming consoles
Division 4. Computer Training – We recently opened a computer training centre where we offer students a basic computer skill s and enrichment courses for Microsoft office
Do you have gaming tournaments at the venue? How often, what platforms and which games?
Yes, we host various tournaments at our venue and around Port Elizabeth on different platforms. We have monthly tournament that consists of Sports and racing games on Playstation 3 and Xbox, Quarterly tournament Called “Become the next Xbox fighting Champ”(UFC 3) hosted at various venues and a Title belt up for grabs and then Our Grand Final in December were we crown The Ultimate Gaming Champ.
Who are the main braaaaaaiiiiiiiinnnnnssss behind Sector 17 Gaming?
Well this main brain is split in half; you have me – Charles Greeff better known as Sector Coach – and Andrew Theron known as Dig1tal NINJA. Where I organize and plan the gaming events, promotions and clan matches, you have Dig1tal NINJA running all technical and electrical aspects of the events and promo’s.
Gaming is not the most lucrative industry in SA, so what possessed you to take the plunge?
Insanity and passion for gaming I guess….lol. It is true, gaming in SA is in not the most lucrative industry but it is growing and part of our vision is to build a brand in its early stages. When gaming in SA does bloom we will have a brand that will be recognized by all gamers despite all the other competitors.
Have you seen a growth since you started operating?
Andrew and I started sector 17 by Lanning Xbox with two other friends in a garage and within a year we attracted over 30 members, opened an internet and gaming lounge and recently adding a computer training centre so yes I do believe we have growth.
The South African gaming scene certainly appears to be on an upswing at the moment. What do you think is needed to sustain that growth?
This is a trend we saw 2 years ago. We believe via market research and experience what we have on offer what current and future gamers crave. We think that a close community of gamers is the key. Interaction with each other via local lan and social events keep us stronger than our competitors. As well as keeping gamers keen.
Do you believe the community has a big role to play in growing gaming in general? If so, what would you like to see the community do?
Absolutely. As we focus mostly on our local gamers, local community plays a big role. The local gamers contribute via word of mouth, which is nice. I believe that the larger community should get involved. We would like to see local newspapers and radio wanting to advertise what we do, as it enriches the community and in such keeps the kids off the streets. One should not have to pay for such advertising as it is mutually beneficial.
You also have a Sector 17 clan [which we will cover in more depth in a future article – Undead Ed] to go along with the shop – do you get much time to game?
Well, I will take this time to apologize to all Sector 17 member’s wives and girlfriends for keeping your men away from home. Yes we game a lot, every Saturday from 15:00 pm to 12:00 am at the store and every Tuesday and Thursday evening we have clan practice online.
When you do, what’s your game(s) and platform of choice?
Most of the clan members prefer to play on Xbox and our main games are MW 3, Battlefield 3, UFC undisputed 3, FIFA 2012.
Thanks for your time – is there anything else you would like to add?
I just want to thank Zombiegamer for giving us the opportunity to feature in their blog and making other gamers aware [Our pleasure. Thanks for getting involved. - Undead Ed]. Be on the lookout for future Sector 17 Gaming store in their areas.
If you are keen to feature in this column in the future, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll think about – after you’ve sent us a sample of your braaaaaaiiiiinnnnsss.