Here is an extract of our pragmatic sector surveillance on video games on the African continent.
Opportunities and assets for Africa: advantages of being a studio in Africa
Africa can profit from video games as a lever for development despite the socio-economic criteria which constrains the consumer market. In actual fact, this sector requires talent in art and computer as primary raw material. These talents are present but unexploited on the continent.
Therefore, Africans still have the possibility of suggesting new milestones to create, while having the goal of internationalizing their products for better impact.
In this way, the African culture will not only have another channel of expression but also a new form of challenge to transcend in order to develop. Since video games should offer " fanciful and extraordinary” visions of the cultures from which they are drawn.
A good strategy developer should not stop before low quality and lack of opportunity. Our inexistence in the sector makes the first who venture there “visible and particular” among the many studios around the world.
These findings come from the ease with which we contacted some major actors among the many studios around the world who were intrigued after reading a mail which contained « “Video Game from Africa” .
. But our chances will be very slim if after all this interest these actors find out that our work is of low quality as well as our ambitions. This would close the door of their curiosity for a very long time.
We therefore have the possibility of opening a qualitative way for all the coming generations of African Game Designers.
In addition, the experience obtained with our amateur models shows that a game can succeed where the novel has failed in passing on constructive values to the African youth.
Situation of the consumer market situation
Sadly, Africa has missed the train of video games as it is the case in many fields. The continent is not even counted in editor’s commercial cards due to the populations’ low purchasing power which is often used for survival.
African youths in politically stable African countries have managed to remain updated through hacking which enables them to have games at their disposal. Being that this option is scarcer due to the size of the games, low internet connection and the development of anti-hacking policies, Africa is gradually moving towards a major digital divide especially for the youths who will suffer the consequences of the delay in technological and economic development.
Within the framework of taste in terms of video games, choices are in synergy with the real life entertainment gamers have access to. Games of football have the greatest share of their interest, then adventure games and war games because they can be played easily.
One consequence of a faulty education system is that the youths of the continent have lost interest in reading. They are therefore reluctant to play games which touch on themes or systems which require profound immersion (role playing games, strategy games, etc). However, the Kiro’o project shows that the fact of identifying with characters takes off this barrier.
Situation of the production market
So far, very few African video game studios exist. In North Africa, most of these studios are delocalized European studios which mostly serve for small complementary games (portable or mobile console version) of big European and American games.
Studios in Sub-Saharan Africa mainly meet in Nigeria and in South Africa: ; South Africa being the most developed country in the sector with financing and political will to support the emergence of the sector.
However, these African studios focus on the domestic market of the mobile game and the free game, especially for educative and social themes. All this is made possible by subventions. In this light, they are doing a very good job.
Until 2013 ending and the birth of Kiro’o Games, there was neither a studio in Central Africa nor an African game of international standard on console or PC. Certainly, there have been some amateur attempts, but generally without ambition and therefore did not go beyond the exercise and technical hobby.
We concluded from this surveillance that a studio in Africa is viable if it first targets the foreign market which is already organized and has ready consumers, then sets up its own continental distribution channel.
The advantage is that the cost of production is very low (weakness of local currencies) and the innovative potential is still to be properly exploited. If the first games yield profit from international sales, the studio will have sufficient financial standing (locally) to become the first editor of continental scope.