The traditional markets for gaming are the United States, Japan and Europe. But in recent years, new markets around the world have been opening up, especially as mobile gaming has become a legitimate and respected format.
One such market is Africa, and across the continent a whole new generation of gamers are being drawn in to console classics and brand new titles designed especially for tablets and smartphones. In fact, experts suggest that Africa could become one of the leading video gaming markets. Let’s take a look at the reasons behind this, and some of the most popular games enjoyed across the continent.
Looking back five years or so, gaming in Africa looks very different to now. Most gamers would have to visit cyber cafes, or similar, to enjoy playing on PCs or consoles. But in 2022 the continent has seen an astonishing rate of growth in the gaming sector, primarily due to the rise of mobile gaming.
Since 2015, the amount of people playing video games across the continent has risen from 77 million to 186 million, with South Africa making up the largest share of that figure – 24 million gamers. Relatively low levels of income in many African countries mean that purchasing gaming PCs or consoles is out of reach of most people, but as with everywhere else in the world, smartphones (and tablets) are ubiquitous.
The biggest market for gaming on the continent is South Africa – 40% of the population plays video games, partly due to the young median age of the country. Console and PC games are popular in South Africa, and this goes for both Africa-themed titles and locally developed games, as well as for those that are globally popular – this is explained by a significantly stable middle class who can afford the equipment – but mobile games are just as popular as they are elsewhere on the continent.
The Nigerian market follows behind, but in contrast, the figures match the rest of Africa – 95% of gamers are using mobile devices, moving on from playing in cafes or even barbershops. The growth of the market across Africa indicates that not only are Africans engaging with games through their smartphones and tablets, but they are also willing to pay for them as well.
Africa-inspired video games
Africa is a vast and incredibly diverse continent, and unsurprisingly the popularity of games varies from place to place. What is more, people in Africa love seeing their own country and culture in video games, and there are a plethora of popular Africa-themed titles they love playing. Here are some of them:
Set around 15 majestic African locations, Mzito is a 2D faller platformer adventure game developed by Weza Interactive Entertainment. It’s an epic adventure, in which the player must free Africa by purging corruption and “waking the sleeping lions”. The game is not only fun and entertaining, but it is full of symbolism, and, the developers say, is intended to inspire Africans.
Okada Ride (Naija MotoTaxi)
This old-school, highly addictive free mobile game was developed in Nigeria, and is set on the chaotic streets of the largest city in the country, Lagos.
You play Abu, an innocent bystander thinking his own business until carnage erupts around him. The aim of the game is to escape the unscathed city, by careering through the traffic without getting knocked off your motorbike. The game is hugely popular in Nigeria, especially in Lagos, and the soundtrack actually features recordings from the city’s streets.
What is more, besides these popular titles, there are dozens of other Africa-themed video games that inspire people to play. A great influence in the spread of the gaming industry was also brought by some online casino games that feature African culture, symbolism, and themes, where titles like Safari King, Great Rhino Megaways, and an evergreen classic Mega Moolah are just some of the options that stand out.
Not to mention that many online providers offering these games like Springbok, Punto, or Yebo Casino now also offer great bonuses and promotions. For example, “Springbok Casino really rolls out the red carpet for new players, since there are plenty of free bonuses this casino offers” says Rudie Venter of playcasino.co.za. With outstanding opportunities like these, followed by an increase in mobile gaming and the use of the internet, many people switched to playing these games as well.
Furthermore, here are some of the evergreens and world-wide popular video games that are currently capturing the imaginations in African countries:
Many huge console classics have made a smooth transition to mobile, and FIFA is one such title. Soccer is the most popular sport in Africa, and the iconic football game mirrors this popularity. Fast-paced, realistic action, great graphics, and recognizable teams from around the world make this a firm favorite among African gamers.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
First-person shooters are as popular in Africa as they are in the rest of the world, and CS:GO is one of the best out there. Multiplayer modes are what drives the popularity of shooters, with millions of Africans playing against one another or collaborating in teams. There are even some professional players from the continent.
The spotlight falls on Africa as an ever growing market for gaming. With mobile gaming growing year-on-year, with more smartphones in circulation than ever, don’t expect the boom to slow down anytime soon.