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Exploring Africa's Booming Gaming Industry: Mobile, Community, and Cultural Impact

The gaming industry in Africa has seen remarkable growth in recent years, with the number of gamers more than doubling since 2015 to reach 186 million players. According to Jay Shapiro, Chairperson of the Pan-African Gaming Group, Africa's gaming sector is still nascent but poised for significant expansion, potentially becoming the third-largest market globally within the next decade. Shapiro attributes this growth to Africa's large youth population, exceeding one billion people.

Exploring Africa's Booming Gaming Industry: Mobile, Community, and Cultural Impact

In a recent episode of Marketplace Africa on CNN, journalist Zain Asher delved into Africa's burgeoning e-gaming industry, projected to hit one billion dollars in value this year. One notable gaming hub in Nairobi, Afrigamer, attracts players from across Kenya for tournaments and community engagement. Afrigamer founder Emmanuel Oyewole highlights the importance of the hub as a safe space for gamers to connect offline, particularly for those who lack high-speed internet access at home.

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Mobile gaming is predominant in Africa due to widespread smartphone usage. Shapiro emphasizes the importance of creating games optimized for mobile platforms to cater to the African market's preferences. He predicts that by 2026, Africa will surpass India in smartphone ownership, underscoring the significance of mobile gaming development in the region. Shapiro's own company, Usiku Games, focuses on mobile games designed for positive impact, countering the prevalence of online sports betting.

Dean Gichukie, CEO of Kunta Content and a game producer, faces challenges in developing a Masai-themed game for PC and console titled 'Hiru.' He highlights the need for a supportive ecosystem of experienced game developers to provide feedback and guidance, as well as assistance in securing funding for projects like his. Despite the hurdles, Gichukie believes that gaming has the power to drive real-life change by offering players immersive experiences rooted in African realities.

"Gaming is really powerful in that they're able to place you within the world and the reality of the player and of the character and being able to do that from an African standpoint is really rare. Being able to show this is the journey of a young African man, this is what it's like living in Africa and dealing with African problems on a daily basis and being able to give people the empathy of their reality of being African," Gichukie says.



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