Esports has had tremendous growth in Africa, just like any other part of the world. This is due to increased internet connectivity, a young population that is eager to explore the internet, and access to mobile gadgets.
The African continent is an important market because of its young population. There’s a high number of young individuals who have the talent and resources to engage in esports and online games.
Gaming in Africa: market size and growth forecast
The gaming market in Africa was valued at USD1653·43 million in 2022, and is expected to reach USD3329·14 million in 2028 growing at a CAGR rate of 16·53% according to the forecast period.
Key Factors Driving the Expansion of the Gaming Market in Africa
How Increased Internet Penetration Fuels the Gaming Market in Africa
Over the years there has been a significant growth in internet penetration in the continent. A lot of people have access to an internet connection, especially in the urban areas making it easy for gaming services to be rolled out in the country.
The Impact of Mobile Gaming Investors on the African Gaming Market
South African Carry1st is a leading mobile game publisher in Africa. It has recently raised $27 million in a funding round led by BITKRAFT Ventures, a top-tier gaming fund. This funding round also saw participation from other prominent investors such as Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and Konvoy.
Carry1st was launched in 2018 and has since been a significant player in the African gaming industry. The funds raised will be used to expand their game development and monetization services, further strengthening their position in the market.
BITKRAFT Ventures is an early-stage investment platform for gaming, esports, and interactive media. Their investment in Carry1st signifies a strong belief in the potential of the African gaming market and Carry1st’s role in it.
Other companies worth mentioning are:
- Kukulu, an Ethiopian mobile gaming company, has received a significant seed investment for its popular 3D mobile game.
- Gamsole, a Nigerian gaming company, has been funded by 88mph and its games have been downloaded over 4 million times globally.
- Leti Arts, one of Africa’s first interactive media studios, has received investment from Knife Capital and creates digital comics and mobile games based on African history and folklore.
- Ludique Works, a Kenyan gaming development hub, provides resources and services to game developers across Africa and has partnered with international organizations for funding.
- Ubongo Game Lab, based in Zambia, received a grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to run a game development boot camp for young developers in Zambia. These companies represent the growing investment and interest in the African mobile gaming industry.
Growing Interest in Gaming Facilities Boosts the African Gaming Market
The young population is eager to explore the internet and has found esports to be a whole new fun thing. The covid19 pandemic also locked people in their houses, and online games are all they had.
The virtual game competition/events allowing gamers to socialize globally has further triggered the interest in online gaming. gamers and the money involved after winning a game has brought more fun.
In 2022, the esports platform Gamr hosted the first esports event in Africa, known as Gamr X, in Lagos, Nigeria. The event saw participation from 15 African countries and attracted a large number of gamers, with women notably dominating the attendance.
The event culminated in a summit and award night, celebrating the best in African gaming. While specific details about the prize pool and the all-expense-paid trip for finalists are not readily available, the event was a significant milestone for esports in Africa, highlighting the region’s growing interest and participation in competitive gaming. The games featured in the tournament included popular titles such as FIFA21, CODM, PUBGM, Mortal Kombat, and Street Fighter V.
Challenges Facing the Expanding Gaming Market in Africa
The Challenge of Limited High-Speed Internet in Africa
Statista reports that the number of internet users in Africa was 570 million people in 2022, double what was recorded in 2015. However, the rise in the number of internet users and internet accessibility in Africa has not achieved its full digital potential. The penetration rate stood at 43 percent in 2021, below a global average of 66 percent.
Lack of infrastructure and gaming facilities
In a continent where most governments are still struggling to provide key infrastructure for its citizens. That is roads, energy, railroad, quality education, and water infrastructure, investing in gaming facilities seems like a dream come true. This can largely be attributed to corruption, most projects always remain in the planning stage.
Opportunities for investors in the African gaming industry
There’s an upcoming generation of native gamers, who pose potential for growth and profitability. The rise in the number of middle-class families in Africa, who can afford the gaming facilities is raising these individuals.
Furthermore, the site Internet Society reported that the internet penetration in the continent was at 43% as of December 2021, a figure they are targeting to double by 2025 by reaching the remotest parts. This will ensure that Africans access online games, far and wide.