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African Video Game Industry: A Growing Goldmine

     Already, the global video game market has reached $140 billion, $100 bigger than the movie industry, and Africa is not lacking behind in this development. As it stands, Kenya has already built and maintained a $50 million video game market since 2016 and it has been forecasted to double by the year 2021. With a total of 23 million players (source: Stay Connect) in 2014, the African continent has surprised the rest of the world when the number rose to 500 million in 2018, a situation that has been attributed to the rise of smartphones in the continent. The numbers don’t just increase, it also reflects in monetary terms; the video game revenue in the continent has risen from $105 million to $570 million in just 4 years. But this amount didn’t include the sale of hardware which is estimated to run into billions of dollars.

African gamers in the Video game industry
Source: Pewresearch

Challenges of the video game industry in Africa

Some of the problems affecting the video game industry in Africa can be related to the same problem affecting the region. Some of them include electricity, poor and expensive internet connection. On the other hand, manpower is another challenging factor: the industry lacks the programming talents that can take the industry to the next level. This can be attributed to lack of awareness, young people barely understand opportunities one can get in the industry, hence their lack of interest.
Another problem affecting the industry is the absence of an integrated payments system that facilitates an in-game purchase, and also a form of advertising exchange that allows an in-game ad, a situation that will help developers offer free games to the public.
Finally, we noticed that lack of awareness on a particular game-release also poses a major challenge. The public barely has the knowledge of the latest game released, or the video game company that developed them, just like the movie industry usually do. But in all these listed setbacks, the industry still grows by 8% annually and there are possibilities it will grow even higher and faster in years to come.
Major Events in the African video game Industry
The video game industry today in Africa has been engaging in some interesting events that promote the video game culture in the continent, some of them can be compiled some developed industry’s esports events while the other is just on the average. Below, we have taken the liberty of listing some of these major events and how they affect the industry.

•    Festival de l'Electronique et du Jeu Vidéo d'Abidjan (FEJA)

Translated as The Electronic and Video Game Festival of Abidjan holds every 23-25 November of every year, and have grown to become one of Africa’s largest esports events. This event has over 40 professional gamers competing among themselves in Abidjan, Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire. The event has 13 million francs CFA which are equivalent to $22,500 up for grab for the winner, while games played are FIFA, Street Fighter, Fortnite and Candy Crush.

•    East Africa Gaming Conversation

In this Expo, new games are introduced to the public. It is a time when games of all console make it into the limelight whether it is online games, mobile games, e.t.c. also you will get to see games of different genres e.g. entertainment video games, educational, game hardware, and some interesting next-generation video game-related items. There are also activities like tournaments,  board and table games, as well as an exhibition.

•    ICE Africa

This is the only Pan-African event that helps stakeholders in the industry drive business growth, help them sustain their ideas, and support any actionable plan with potential, and they do all these without placing a charge. This year’s event will hold from 27-28 of October 2020 in South Africa.
For the African video game industry today to attain this weight, it goes to show that it has a bright future, and if it continues this way, there are possibilities it will rank side by side with bigger markets like the chinese video game industry. Until then, keep flying the flag.

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