Rene Fraser

A Farewell Tribute to Rene Fraser – South African Gaming’s Most Passionate PR Lady

To say the gaming industry is in shambles is quite an understatement right now. With studios closing on a weekly basis and literally thousands of people affected by layoffs this year, there has never been a darker time in our industry. But out of all the horrible things to happen this year, Rene Fraser leaving the South African gaming PR landscape has been the worst.

Rene Fraser has been part of the gaming industry in South Africa for well over ten years. She was responsible for the PR behind some of the most historical games in our region. She headed up Ubisoft South Africa comms and made sure all local gamers had their Assassin’s Creed games on launch day (along with all those fancy Collector’s Editions).

Her work didn’t end there. Rene was a key member working alongside retailers across the country ahead of the launch of a new game. This included taking over BT Games stores nationwide with posters and storefront artwork and securing pre-order goodies for new game titles.

Rene would often single-handily get shirts made for new game launches and be sure various stores had them on launch day for gamers to collect alongside their order. South African gamers always knew when Rene was behind a launch. If it wasn’t her collaborations with Jack Parow and her Afrikaans-voiced game trailers, it was her on-the-point media coverage and press drops.

Not to forget her excellent showcases at the annual rAge expo where gamers would often get to play unreleased demos for exciting new games. It always felt like our own little E3 experience.

To bid Rene farewell and thank her for all the amazing years in the scene, we put together this tribute post. It includes various words from people who have known Rene for close to ten years. People who have been around to witness her greatness. Of which, will never be forgotten.

From Marco Cocomello

Rene Fraser has been a staple for any gaming media/content creator. If you worked in gaming, you knew Rene. As the go-to PR lady for Megarom Interactive and then Prima Interactive, Rene handled some blockbuster titles around Ubisoft, From Software, Square Enix, Activision and more.

I first met Rene all the way back in 2014 when I first started working my way into the industry. At the time, I was freelancing for any and every site and magazine I could get my hands on.

It was a challenge to get into the gaming industry back then. It wasn’t as easy as posting an Instagram story and tagging a brand. Back then the industry was incredibly competitive. We had magazines that people read and more than one games media website. Often there were more media and creators than there were review discs (yes, review games came on physical discs).

I ended up meeting Rene at rAge 2014. I spent the year writing game reviews for Playboy Magazine and a passion project online magazine called SPLICED Magazine – created by my dear friend Pippa Tshabalala. But these reviews were just from games I bought myself.

It just so happened that Rene was hosting a special showcase for Assassin’s Creed Unity and The Division at rAge that year. I bumped into her, we chatted about the game, and my love for the series and the rest was history. 

rAge 2014

Before I knew it I was thrown into Rene’s world. Game launches, gaming PR, exciting news and reveals, showcase events and more. Rene was the go-to for gaming in SA. A lady who turned a video game into a true spectacle. 

Throughout my years with Rene, I experienced a passion for games that no one else in this local industry had. She saw every title as an opportunity to market something unique. Be it Assassin’s Creed Syndicate launching at an authentic steampunk restaurant or sending media all the way to The Cradle of Mankind to celebrate the launch of Far Cry Primal. 

Assassin's Creed Syndicate

Rene made sure that you knew about her games and at every opportunity, were able to play them. The effort she put into these titles was unmatched across the industry. She was always willing to go above and beyond her means to support everyone in the scene. Sure, we’re talking about a time when budgets were almost unlimited and physical game media was stronger than ever but somehow, even when Rene had zero budget for a game, she made a plan. 

Far Cry primal Launch

But Rene was more than just a great PR lady, she was also a good friend. Rene embraced me for everything I am. She looked past my sexual orientation and just saw how much I loved gaming. On those wavelengths, we thrived together.

I can’t tell you how many armies of assholes I fight every day in this industry because of ego and right-wing views. Rene was always that breath of fresh air I needed during the darkest times in my career. For her, if you loved gaming, it was enough. There was no secret agenda or cliques you had to follow. She didn’t believe in hyped and exciting sponsored reviews. Everyone who loved gaming was on her email list. 

I don’t think South Africa has or will ever have anyone as passionate as Rene Fraser. As she leaves the industry this week, I want to say thank you. My platform would not be around today if it wasn’t for the support and opportunities from Rene. She opened doors I didn’t know existed and helped me fight when I didn’t have the power to. She is truly a magical human and she will be missed so so much… Wherever Rene goes from here, they best be ready for her. 

From Sam Aberdeen

Starting out in the South African gaming industry, I was a fish out of water – a wide-eyed kid with dreams of writing about video games. Social interactions were never my strongest trait so getting out into the local scene to meet new faces and make new bonds was always going to be difficult for someone like me. Back in 2017, it was all-in on Assassin’s Creed Origins, Rainbow Six Siege, Ubisoft at the forefront of the industry at large and me nervously navigating meeting local brands.

That brought me to Megarom and Rene, who made me feel a lot less stressed about my journeys into the wide world. Friendly, inviting and always smiling, Rene made my transition into the industry a lot easier. Invites to events always arrived on time (Far Cry 5, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, etc.) and they wanted me to attend. Fortunately, with Rene there, I never felt out of place.

Rene was the kind of PR that needed to be fostered in the local industry – someone who got out there to uphold local sites and keep them in the loop and happy. It was clear that she cared quite deeply about supporting local sites and that was a sigh of relief, especially when my workload ramped up after taking on the Chief Editor position at Nexus Hub.

With the industry changing, it saddens me that we must say goodbye to Rene. She has led by example and displayed some fantastic work ethic that I can’t stress enough, we really need more of in South Africa. I wish you all the best and farewell, Rene. You’ve done an outstanding job all these years and made dealing with local distributors far less scary. It won’t be the same without you. Hope our paths cross again very soon!

From Alec Samuel / That Freakin Geek

Rene is one of the best people in the South African gaming industry, from the beginning of my content creator career she has supported me in amazing ways. The South African Gaming scene was made even better with her involvement, and I greatly appreciate what she did for it throughout the years.

From Dangerous Dave

Hi Rene, I just want to say from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for everything you have done for me over the past decade. Without you, I would never have been able to live out my dreams as a video game journalist and travel the world and I owe it all to you and the amazing opportunities you gave me.

I still remember the days at the old Megarom offices coming to visit and chat with you and you would always have the biggest smile on your face. It was just the highlight of my day when I got to come through for a visit and catch up with you. So thank you once again for being the most amazing person to work with in the local gaming industry. I wish you all the best for your new chapter, lots of love, Dangerous Dave.

From Sam “Tech Girl” Wright”

When I started in the gaming space as a “content creator” the first person who welcomed me to the scene was Rene. She encouraged and supported me when I was “cringe girl” and never stopped cheering in my corner. She has held the hands of so many of us entering the space and raising us up. The industry is losing its brightest light.

From Gert Rautenbach

When GES just started out, Rene went out of her way to assist with codes and even giveaways when we started doing the Cosplay events. She was also always willing to help where she could. She also hosted some awesome game launches to boot! It’s really sad to see one of our local gaming pillars leaving. 

Marco is the owner and founder of GLITCHED. South Africa’s largest gaming and pop culture website. GLITCHED quickly established itself with tech and gaming enthusiasts with on-point opinions, quick coverage of breaking events and unbiased reviews across its website, social platforms, and YouTube channel.

1 Comment

  • Random South African 31 May 2024

    I could have also left a note for Rene.
    But once again, We are always left out…
    Looks like the sports industry is still strongly controlled by one group of people whom dictate the video gaming market in South Africa…

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