While many countries think we live on the dark side of Africa it is actually the complete opposite. Our tech industry is booming and we are pretty up-to-date when it comes to a lot of things. Unfortunately, where we fall flat is our internet infrastructure as many South Africans don't have access to fast reliable connections, which lead us to miss out on many gaming features. There are so many great gaming services out there that just do not come here either due to region constraints or the simple fact that we don't support it. Here are some that I wish we could use, but alas, either internet restricts it or some licensing issues prevent us from using the service.
One of Sony's biggest peeves is the lack of backwards compatibility. The PS4 does not have it and if you want to play a PS3 game you will either need to buy the remaster if they ever release it or boot up your PS3. There is another option, an option that we as South Africans are missing out on and that is PlayStation Now. The service sees you pay a set fee per month and you have access to over 600 PS4 and PS3 games for only $19,99 per month. New games are added every month like TES IV: Oblivion, Red Dead Redemption and other awesome PS3 games. The service even lets you play these games on your laptop.
The way it works is that you Sony renders the game on their end and streams the content to you so it is almost like playing on a console in the cloud. The issue is that this sort of thing needs some heavy bandwidth to pull off so naturally South Africa is left in the dark and instead of being PlayStation Now, it is PlayStation Then. There is no option to even test the service if you have a South African account as Sony recommends at least 5Mbps line which means at least a 50MB/s fibre connection. We could be enjoying 600 PS3 games but guess we will have to go back and hunt monsters in Monster Hunter: World.
This has been my biggest issue with the Xbox One since its local launch back in 2014. Microsoft pushes the entertainment part of the console so heavily on their end, probably why they have so little exclusives, that you would think that it in itself is a TV decoder. Unfortunately, it is not as it requires a set-up box to connect to enable features such as DVR, controlling your TV box with the Xbox Controller and not to mention the OneGuide that lets you see the coming shows on your console. We then also have the Xbox One's built-in video and music services that if you are familiar with the likes of Netflix and Apple Music you will know that they offer videos to rent and stream as well as music to buy and listen to directly off your device.
Unfortunately, everything I have mentioned above is not available in SA. When plugging in your Xbox One into you DSTV it does nothing but let you stream through the console itself. No OneGuide, DVR, nothing. When launching the video/music services instead of welcoming you to a wonderful collection of things to watch it kicks you out due to a region lock. Now I ask you, you probably paid for that extra HDMI on your Xbox and all the features it is meant to boast right? Just another feature South African will never be able to use.
GeForce now is the PC equivalent of PlayStation Now and it is now in beta. The service lets you pay a set fee for a set amount of gaming time and depending on how much you pay will depend on the quality of your gaming. GTX 1080 quality will cost you more than say GTX 1050, which makes sense. Unfortunately, South Africa has not even been considered for this service due to the fact that the internet requirements are quite hefty. Nvidia recommends different broadband speeds for better tiers of gaming: 20 Mbps for 720p at 60 fps, and 50 Mbps for 1080p at 60 fps. Which is not bad but what are the chances you have this speed at home?
It could also be due to the lack of data servers in SA which would make a world of difference if they would build some. Many games that come out lack local servers and support for other services due to not having any data centres to connect to locally. Well, with the initial price of $25 for 10 hours of gaming, Nvidia can keep their streaming service, thank you.
You know those thousands of rands you spend on the PlayStation Store every month? Don't you wish you could exchange them for points that could be used to buy things from the PlayStation Store? Well, in America you totally can. The PlayStation Reward system gives you points for staying an active PlayStation Plus subscriber, renting movies from the store, buying games and just using Sony's PlayStation services.
This is not the case in SA as you can spend all the money in the world and you will get jack from PlayStation. Not to mention that PlayStation offers no extra services at all other than PlayStation Plus here. No music streaming, not movie rentals and of course no PlayStation Now. All of which you could earn points for if you could subscribe to them.
Xbox Rewards is very similar to PlayStation Rewards but unlike Sony's system, you can earn rewards much easier on Xbox. Microsoft offers so many ways to earn points such as playing specific games, unlocking specific achievements and of course renting entertainment from the apps, which again are not available in SA. Rewards can then be directly converted to currency which you can then use on the Xbox Store to buy new games and content.
If you are truly the best Xbox fan and keep your earning up then you will earn a VIP status that gives you double the points and discount on games too. You can even earn points for buying games and playing them. I mean who does not want that? Well, you cannot have it as the service does not exist in SA at all and I doubt it will anytime soon as a huge part of the service is the ability to buy merchandise and if you can point me to an Xbox store to buy this then I will be your best friend.
What other extra services do you wish we received in SA? Let us know in the comments below.