African gaming wants to make its mark on the global scene


Video Games

At first glance, video games seems to be reserved for an audience of “insiders”. Yet the industry is one of the most lucrative in the world, with sales of almost 200 billion dollars in 2023 alone.

From the very young to the very old, gaming, as it is commonly known, touches all age groups, crosses genres, and even continents.

In Africa, the market has been booming since 2018.

Long a consumer of games from abroad, its young people are now looking to tell different, authentic stories and make their mark by developing 100 per cent African entertainment.

“We always have the same types of heroes, the same types of characters who all look more or less the same,” laments Mickaël Newton, CSR manager at Ubisoft and co-founder of the “Loisirs Numériques” association.

“When you look at the big hits, it’s always the bearded white character or the sexy girl who’s going to do great things with her legs. But the idea is, how do we renew all that a bit?”

“How do we tell other stories thanks to African video games and people who want to talk about tradition, or collaborate on projects that are a bit more international, by bringing their different stories and even their knowledge.”

Collaboration, yes, but on a win-win basis. An essential factor in establishing Africa in this global ecosystem. And why not see a blockbuster emerge from the continent?

“It’s a global market, so Africans also play European games, and Europeans also have their own games, so the level of competition is very, very high,” points out Carl Tamakloe, Head of TV Series Development at Ubisoft Film & Television.

“Now what we need is more collaboration without falling into education. Because it’s also important to realise that Africans have skills that can be of use to Europeans, have ways of doing things that can be of use, but Europeans also have technical resources simply because they started earlier.”

The crux of the matter is financing. But how do you attract more investors to this emerging market? For Wilson Nyah, investment adviser, it is a question of communication.

“Above all, we need to provide information. Meeting investors where they are and making them aware of the scale of the opportunities offered by the continent. Showing them the quality of the games that have already been produced in Africa,” he says.

“It’s all there, we just need the Africans, who are the games’ ambassadors, to get out there and meet these people in Europe and the United States and tell them about the continent’s potential.”

In 2023, the Africa and Middle East video games market recorded the strongest annual growth in global revenues in the sector, reaching over $7 billion, an increase of 4.7 per cent.

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