• Saturday, June 22, 2024
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Smartphones, youthful population to fuel Africa’s gaming boom

Smartphones, youthful population to fuel Africa’s gaming boom

Growing smartphone penetration and a digital-savvy youth population will push the gaming industry to new heights in Africa.

Geopoll and the Pan Africa Gaming Group (PAGG) revealed this from a survey of over 2,500 game players from Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, and South Africa.

It builds on an earlier report from NewZoo, a leader in video games and gamer data, which disclosed that the African gaming industry would exceed $1 billion for the first time in 2024. The mobile gaming sector is expected to lead this growth, outpacing revenues generated by console and PC gaming combined.

The survey by Geopoll and Pan Africa Gaming Group (PAGG) revealed a tilt towards mobile gaming, with 92 percent of respondents agreeing that they play games on their mobile devices.

According to the research, this preference is driven by increasing smartphone penetration and the Android platform’s dominance, with 92 percent of respondents reporting that they have downloaded games from the Google Play Store.

John Murunga, Regional Director of GeoPoll, said, “Our research showcases the significant role of mobile gaming, driven by high smartphone penetration and the digital savvy of the African youth. The insights from this survey emphasise the widespread appeal of gaming as a form of entertainment and shed light on the potential for gaming to become a powerful medium for cultural expression and community building in Africa.”

The report also identified barriers to gaming purchases, with 47 percent of respondents preferring free games and 44 percent citing a lack of funds. This cost-related challenge extends beyond purchases, as gamers listed the cost of data bundles (42 percent) and expensive gaming hardware (31 percent) among their top challenges.

Despite starting only 10 years ago, the African video game industry is primed for growth and development, considering its vibrant youth population and rich diversity. From Nigeria’s Maliyo Games to South Africa’s 24Bit Games to Kenya’s Usiku Games and Senegal’s Kayfo Games, there is now a burgeoning segment of the industry producing games on the continent for the big international studios.

Michael Oscar Esio, co-founder of Africacomicade, explained, “Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, a significant transformative wave is underway, challenging established norms. Improved access to the internet, technology, financial services, and easier entry into the global market amplifies the market’s size and potential.

“The distinct consumer behaviour of the Gen Z African demographic further fuels this potential, necessitating better standardisation and contemporary strategies in the evolving creator economy. The future promises exciting times ahead.”

Jay Shapiro, Chairperson of PAGG, stressed that the potential for growth in the African Gaming industry will depend on investments flowing into the sector.