R1.9bn investment boon for mobile games, films in SA

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 02 May 2024
Boy Kills World was released worldwide on 26 April.
Boy Kills World was released worldwide on 26 April.

Investment company Talent10 Holdings, in collaboration with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), has committed over $100 million (almost R1.9 billion) to develop a new entertainment and gaming franchise in South Africa.

As part of this venture, Talent10 secured the rights to and released a new action-thriller movie, Boy Kills World, alongside the development of the mobile and PC fighting game “Super Dragon Punch Force 3”.

Additionally, it greenlit an eight-part animated series that expands on some of the characters introduced in the game, further developing the franchise’s offerings.

In a statement, Talent10 says gaming has become a cultural phenomenon in SA, with the South African gaming and entertainment industry valued at $266 million (R5 billion), and consisting of 26 million active gamers across various platforms – most commonly mobile phones.

Talent10 CEO Wayne Fitzjohn notes SA offers exceptional value for money in terms of US dollar-based production costs, while maintaining a high-quality end-product for customers.

According to Statista, the video games market in SA is projected to reach revenue of $494.50 million in 2024.

It notes this sector is expected to show a compound annual growth rate (CAGR 2024-2027) of 7.37%, resulting in a projected market volume of $612.10 million by 2027. By that year, Statista adds, the number of users in the video games market is expected to amount to 8.6 million users.

Global attraction

Boy Kills World was entirely funded, produced and filmed in South Africa under Nthibah Pictures, a subsidiary of Talent10 that acquired the rights to the movie in 2021. The movie made its debut at the Toronto Film Festival, attracting worldwide attention, the investment company says.

This led Lionsgate Films and Roadside Attractions signing on to distribute the film in the US, it adds.

“We identified an opportunity to provide longevity to our collective investment by creating an expanded universe of ‘Boy Kills World’, that paves the way for future projects to be funded and produced in South Africa,” says Fitzjohn.

He adds that this substantial investment has already played a significant role in local job creation and economic development, solidifying SA’s position as a prominent, serious player in global film production.

Kagisho Bapela, sector lead for film and television finance at the IDC, says: “The IDC is responsible for investing in sectors of SA that show prominent growth potential, which this film and gaming franchise exemplify. This partnership not only supports the growth of the local entertainment industry but also fosters further job creation and economic growth in our country.”

Boy Kills World, which was released worldwide on 26 April, tells the story of “Boy”, played by Bill Skarsgård, who is deaf and mute, and has an extremely vivid imagination.

According to Talent10, the boy’s immersion in the Arcade Game “Super Dragon Punch Force 2” plays a significant role in shaping his psyche.

Through the game, it explains, he develops an internal “voice”, fuelling his propensity for violence and providing an outlet for his pent-up emotions.

“Super Dragon Punch Force 2 is based on a fighting game that Talent Digital Art, our gaming subsidiary, has been developing since 2022. Integrating this game into our movie laid the foundation for the launch of our highly-ambitious mobile game, Super Dragon Punch Force 3, which launched at Cape Town Comic-Con on 27 April,” says Fitzjohn.

Perfect backdrop

The investment firm notes this convergence of gaming and film underscores SA's appeal as a destination for international filmmakers.

Its diverse landscapes, natural beauty and wealth of local talent in editing, production and artistic fields have long attracted filmmakers, improving the country's reputation as a premier hub for film-making, it adds.

“South Africa is definitely open to the international film industry,” Fitzjohn affirms. “Boy Kills World is anticipated to perform extremely well at the Box Office, which could signify a significant boost for South Africa’s entertainment industry. A successful film release would attract further investment and attention to the country's film production capabilities.

“This would lead to more opportunities for local talent, increased tourism and heightened global recognition of South Africa as a hub for creative excellence.

“Additionally, it could foster partnerships with international studios and filmmakers, further propelling South Africa's position as a prominent player in the global film market,” he concludes.