MXit launched its chess portal less than 12 months ago and with limited marketing, the game has already attracted more than 285,000 registered players, marking a steady revival for a game thought to be diminishing in popularity over trendy modern action games.
“We are very excited to see that our users are embracing the strategic and intellectual world of chess,” says Paul Stemmet, general manager for sales at MXit. “We initially developed the game to test the viability of a gaming platform and we are delighted by the enormous uptake from users. MXit users’ social behaviour sees them engaging on multiple levels by spending time playing chess against other community members whilst chatting to their MXit contacts on the instant messaging platform.”
MXit users spend hours per day logged on to the popular mobile social network. Chess, and other gaming programmes that MXit has developed, provides a way for users to entertain themselves while waiting for a friend to respond to a message or chat.
Chess remains a popular game amongst young adults.
The fact that young adults are choosing to play chess proves that the strategic mental game is not dipping in popularity and this, says Stemmet, is good news for our youth. “Research has proven time and again that chess improves thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as mathematics and reading test scores, so we are very pleased that our chess game has taken off so well.
“The additional appeal to chess players, both beginners and advanced, is that they can play anyone who is logged onto MXit, no matter where they are in South Africa. They can also play multiple games at a time,” says Stemmet.
On the 31st December 2010 there were 50,000 games in progress for the day and an average of 300,000 chess moves are played every day. Although the majority of players are South African, the game has also been well-received amongst MXit’s global users.
Brian Aitchison, executive director of Chess South Africa says: “We are encouraged to see how many young South Africans are participating in chess games on the MXit platform, especially since it is the kind of game that stretches the mind and increases mental capabilities. We also commend the popular mobile social network for choosing to launch a chess game and, in doing so, supporting the revival and continued popularity of the game.”
Creating a lucrative sponsorship opportunity for the right partner.
MXit’s aim is to increase the number of registered players to 1 million users by the end of 2011. Stemmet explains that MXit has opened the platform for a partnership opportunity with an appropriate marketer who would not only benefit from access to MXit’s gigantic community of over 30 million users, but also to a ready and captive community that so avidly already plays the game.
“The platform provides the right sponsor with an enormous opportunity to engage directly with the community through tournaments, coupons, prizes, questionnaires for market research and brand interaction,” says Stemmet.
The mobile social network giant will award ownership of its chess portal for a period of 24 months to a brand that meets strict criteria of ethical brand values, social involvement, progressiveness and its ability to be agile.