The African gaming sector seems to be something that a lot of people are overlooking, but the truth is the sector is fast growing and it's on course to be a money-making machine for African youths.
The global video games industry makes over $140billion, this is $100 billion larger than the film industry. African game companies like Gamesole, Kuluya, and Chopup are hoping to become major players in an industry expected to be worth more than $174 billion by 2021.
According to Newzoo’s revised predictions, the $63.2 billion mobile games app revenues in 2018 was 76% of all app revenues, leaving just $23.9 billion (27%) for non-gaming apps.
In 2014, Africa had 23 million video game players, and that reached 500 million in 2018, largely due to the rapid penetration of smartphones. This is one of the reasons why gaming was the third most popular app type. Half of app users have opened a gaming app in the last week.
Gaming in Africa
Gaming in Africa is quite young, but it is rapidly growing in popularity. The African gaming market grew from $105M to $570M between 2014 and 2018. Nigeria was the highest spender at $122M in 2018 alone.
It shouldn't be surprising that the mobile gaming industry accounts for almost 50% of the gaming sector. Africa has a fast-growing mobile market and a young population of over 200million, this number is expected to double by 2030. Africa’s young market represents a world of opportunity for smartphones, internet & gaming companies that are looking to expand into the fastest-growing demographic in the world.
Problems Gamers face in Nigeria
The Nigerian gamer faces a lot of unnecessary issues, and here are some of these ordeals gamers have to go through:
The negative stereotypes: Gamers generally get stereotyped as “lazy” or “immature”. A universal issue but is most likely 10 times worse in Nigeria. A large part of society does not see the opportunities in gaming. Even when you tell your parents a kid won $3million from playing Fornite, they still wouldn’t understand because it is not a norm in Nigeria. What most people see is you sitting in your room all day, playing games and not sweating or putting in work like the rest of the world.
Nothing is made here: This is something that covers the problem of getting a console, to playing a game with a storyline you can relate to. Buying consoles, gaming PCs, and videogames in my country costs a fortune. There is little to no locally produced games around, this is one of the reasons why there aren’t any in-game storyline that talks about things Africans can relate to. I can remember how excited I was when I saw Lagos in the ‘Call of Duty, advanced warfare. This excitement will be immeasurable if as a Nigerian, I can play Amadioha vs Sango in fighting games. Consoles and games are imported and businessmen need to make their profits, hence why consoles and gaming PCs are expensive.
Poor internet services: The internet around is mostly bad and expensive. Online gaming gets to be a bad experience for gamers who have competitions to play with other gamers in other parts of the world, most gamers around have to stay up late in the night to get access to decent internet. Compared to countries like China, the USA, or the UK. Access to fast internet speed would require you being in some locations and it also comes at a high price. This reduces the chances of being a better gamer or getting to compete in competitions that will earn you money as a pro gamer.
Police invading gaming centers: I am sure anyone who was into gaming while growing up will understand the experience of having the police invade a game house. The society often associates gaming with gambling and a lot of Nigerians are religious people who frown on gambling. So any gaming center is easily tagged a gambling spot. I have had my fair share of the police invasion experience, that didn't stop me from going back to the gaming center though. But I am sure it stopped thousands of kids like me who could have turned out to be world champions, and also stop many young kids from going to cybercrimes, drug abuse, and many other vices.
Future of Gaming In Africa
A gaming ecosystem comprises of the creators, game designers, developers, publishers, distributors, and even the players all working together simultaneously. If your game is not up to the global standard, It will be hard to monetize it in Nigeria, Gamsole did found a way to monetize their’s, after they involved telecommunication companies. One of their games GidiRun amassed 3,400 downloads in few weeks after launch.
One of the major problems developers and creators face in the Nigerian gaming market is the financing and funding of projects, which is a serious problem in the development of the gaming ecosystem in Nigeria. The Tech Meets Entertainment Summit 2019 (TMES19), by Ingressive is a gaming event that wants to look at the opportunities of gaming in Africa, and one of the problems I really want us to solve at the summit is the problem of game financing.
Ingressive plans to bring together gaming investors, game designers, creators and game developers under one roof. In a bid to push the gaming in Africa to the next level, Ingressive wants to support African games created for African.
It would be a great thing to have the gaming ecosystem together in one place, where the topic of collaboration, Innovation, and monetization would be touched upon. Global gaming revenue is set to increase to $174 billion by 2021. If Nigerians can spend $122 million on games that aren’t African themed in 2018, Nigerians will spend more on games that are African themed. There is an unspoken love of buying Nigerian made products to loud the culture and grow the naira.