Players in Africa aim for global inclusion, everyone follows
Africa is game: African players aim for global inclusion and everyone counts.
The growth trajectory of an average African child is usually linear.
Take Zuga, an ambitious young man who grew up in the interior of East Africa with an adventurous mind and a love for games. His closest encounter with mobile games would be listening intently to country people discussing medieval adventures and battle series while extolling their best characters. As exciting as that sounded, none of the players’ foreign-animated heroes came close to Zuga’s beloved Kwanso and Aburi, some local characters he had invented on his handmade African-themed game board.
Kwanso could stretch riverbeds across different countries (an adaptation he got from studying the lengths of the Nile River) and Aburi could reinvent himself in 550 forms, each bearing an African mother tongue, from Swahili to Xhosa and Yoruba. For years, his longing to see these indigenous figures and culture on the “big screen” – what he called television – did not materialize.
But today the story is changing. Zuga is right to believe that the fastest way to export African culture is by embedding them into games and animated series. By all indications, the time has come and the market is ripe for disruption.
A 2021 GSMA mobile economy report indicates that 303 million people, almost 28% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa have a mobile internet connection, and by 2025 there will be almost 100 million additional mobile subscribers in sub-Saharan Africa, with Nigeria and Ethiopia accounting for almost a third of these.
The report onelso reveals that sub-Saharan Africa has doubled the number of players to 186 million people in the last five years. “… This development is a result of African players playing on tablets or preferably smartphones instead of consoles. South Africa has the highest number of players with 24 million people, indicating 40% of the population, followed by Ghana (27 %), Nigeria (23%), Kenya (22%) and Ethiopia (13%)…”
These facts prove that the African gaming industry is growing rapidly and is ready to take on the global gaming economy. Homegrown gaming companies like Qene games plays a key role in making this happen. Based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the venture-backed startup was founded
by Dawit Abraham to develop mobile games that represent Africa’s beautiful culture in the global gaming and entertainment industry, where it is currently severely underrepresented.
Kukulu and Gebeta, two award-winning mobile games, are some of Qene Games’ brainchild. They both have their concepts taken from an African history. For example, Kukulu is the name of a chicken in Ethiopia which, according to the creators, originates from a traditional sport in Ethiopia called Akukulu Alnegam.
“This is one of the many mobile games based on an African story and it opens up opportunities for more creativity from mobile game developers,” says Dawit, “Ethiopia alone has more than one cultural heritage, you can imagine what Nigeria, South Africa, Morocco and all of Africa will contribute to its mobile gaming industry.”
Earlier in 2022, as one of the viable reasons to drive the gamification of African culture, 10 African game development studios gathered under one umbrella, the Pan Africa Gaming Group (PAGG) to unite the continent’s games industry and help grow the talent of young African developers.
Qene Games as a member of PAGG aims to unlock the potential within the continent’s games industry through its enriching pan-African cultural heritage embedded in mobile game development and create opportunities for more university graduates to pursue careers in mobile game development.
In an interview with Forbes Africa, Dawit said: “Ethiopia, as a country with more than 3,000 years of history and culture, has a vast pool of creative inspiration. From the artistic and unique music styles that have existed for millennia, to many fascinating legends and folklore, our game developers have a endless source to feed their creativity and imagination.”
The founder believes that Africa is a hub of inspiration to seek ideas for authentic mobile games with a local theme, which in turn will attract stakeholders globally into the African market. “I also suspect there will be stiff competition from telcos (telecommunications operators) who have tried to get into the games business to try to fill the gap in distribution and sales,” he added.
While the gaming industry in Africa is rapidly growing, challenges such as distribution and monetization continue, but Dawit says “these challenges would not stop Africa’s gaming industry from reaching its potential, because whether you like it or not, the time is ripe and Africa is gaming.”
About Qene Games
Qene Games is a venture-backed startup that builds original African games and publishes existing games that inspire the next generation to imagine a better world. Qene aims to develop gaming capacity on the African continent by mentoring, recruiting and upskilling African game developers.
Qene Games is the first game development studio in Ethiopia. The creator of Kukulu, Gebeta, Feta and Tra’s mobile games, Qene won Best Entertainment App and Best App of the Year at the Apps Africa Awards for its first two games.
For more media inquiries, visit Qene Games’ official website or get in touch with [email protected]
Name: Dawit Abraham
Organization: Qene Games Inc.
Phone number: +251910184144
Email: [email protected]