FIFA 2010 World Cup to benefit Africa gaming

Africa's gaming sector will get a boost from the FIFA 2010 football World Cup in South Africa after the telecom giant Vodacom Group launches a gaming portal.

The portal, initially providing four games, is expected to be ready by the time the football World Cup kicks off in South Africa next year. MTN, the official sponsor of the World Cup, is also developing mobile phone games for its users in 22 African countries.

The Vodacom Group sponsors African sports such as rugby and football and the new gaming service will include PC multiplayer gaming and a dedicated Web site offering news, reviews and gamer forums.

Vodacom is expanding its traditional cellular-based offerings into the converged communication market by offering services such as online gaming, said Dot Field, Vodacom's chief communications officer.

The expansion into gaming coincides with infrastructure projects aiming to provide affordable broadband to people in rural and urban areas across Africa.

The games portal will allow Vodacom subscribers and nonsubscribers play the initial games: Left 4 Dead, Crysis Wars, Crysis and Battlefield 2. The cellular giant will offer more games in the future.

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