Entertainment Gaming

The Video Game Industry: Africa

The video game industry is now a billion-dollar industry for various countries in a year. The surge in technology is revolutionizing markets and societies across Africa in ways that would seem impractical five years ago. This industry has been one of the largest beneficiaries of technology advancement in Africa. 

Gaming can simply be defined as the act or practice of playing video games on game consoles like Xbox and Playstation, mobile devices or personal computers. In its most sophisticated form, a gaming interface can represent a form of virtual reality.

Research by Mordor Institute shows that the video game industry is predicted to record a CAGR of 12% during the projected period (2021 – 2026). Covid-19 has shown a positive effect on the African Video Game Market as the mandated stay at home directives led to the customers using more time and money on different games and gaming consoles, which led to the increase of the commercial segment of the gaming industry.

The same research also shows that the African video game industry is impacted by many elements, such as income and the growing youth population. 

The surge in high-speed internet connections in the upcoming economies has made online gaming possible for many in recent years. Most countries on the continent are already on 4G. Tunisia currently has the fastest mobile internet speed in Africa with a download speed of Mbps-19.21 followed by Morocco which has a download speed of Mbps-18.52 and an upload speed of Mbps-9.08. Egypt occupies the third spot with a download speed of Mbps-15.89 and an upload speed of Mbps-7.67. Due to such components, the market is expected to witness growth over the projected period.

Africa is one of the continents that has an increasing youth population. By 2050, Africa’s young people {ages 0 and 24} will experience a growth of around 50%. Africa’s youth is critical to its future when it comes to video games.

South Africa is one of the biggest video game markets in Africa. The market has overshadowed the movies and music markets in the country. Countries like Kenya, Uganda, and Nigeria are other key game developers in Africa. 

In East Africa, sports betting dominates the scene. The digital and mobile payment space has equally observed rapid growth, therefore, captivating more players. M-Pesa, a mobile phone money transfer platform that has contributed to significant financial involvements in the region in Kenya. Online sports betting companies such as sportpesa have grown expeditiously in Kenya and East Africa with revenue of 204 billion shillings ($2 billion) last year.  



The video game industry is relatively considered a young industry in Kenya. Although several start-up companies have emerged in the country since 2007, the existing businesses are facing funding issues and few successes have been made. However, allocated spaces, support programs and government grants that have been instigated in the years have made it possible for the industry to largely expand within a short per cent od of time. The introduction of broadband internet in 2009 produced a generation of young ICT savvy people and the Kenyan game industry is as of 2015 was one of the largest in the region. 

The significant rise in video game players in Africa from 23 million in 2014 to 500 million in 2019 has offered jobs to many.  Many game developers who started half-time are now full-time employees. 

 

One of the Kenyan game studios that’s gearing the game and gaming growth in the country is Jiwe Studios, a company that constitutes a team of 16 young, motivated, passionate African developers, visual artists, gamers and enthusiasts who love making and playing games and are dedicated to being the ultimate developer hub for creating, playing, distributing games in Africa.

Jiwe IO is focused on offering African game developers a distribution platform that is precisely engineered to their needs with great feedback, personalized support, free for them to publish games on and ultimately make more income from their games. The studio currently has 27 games on the platform and are currently improving the quality of  African games being developed on the platform so that consumers can begin appreciating locally created content. 

Jiwe Esports engages youth aged between 15-30 years old in esports tournaments and aims at getting esport players to compete locally and internationally, all while getting an opportunity to make an income and receive educational scholarships. They come up with competitions, create content in esports and pride themselves on being one of the leading organizers of successful esport events, with the largest esports viewership in East Africa.

ADMI and Jiwe Studios recently signed an MOU to grow game development in Africa through high-quality education & game distribution. This partnership will try to solve one of Africa’s most challenging problems in game development as a career. There are 900 million Africans under 35yrs, creating a huge demand for employment opportunities & sustainable industries to support them. Even more exciting is that in Sub Saharan Africa, 230 million jobs will require digital skills by 2030, placing a spotlight on the importance of the digital educational ecosystem.

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