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Africa: the next gaming industry superpower?

The video gaming industry was valued at $152 billion in 2019, with countries such as the U.K., the U.S. and Canada being global frontrunners in terms of employment, developer success and sales of hardware and software. In the U.S, 220,000 people are employed within the industry. With such a tight-knit set of gaming pioneers, just how penetrable is the Western gaming canon for countries outside of Europe and North America? 

The first country that comes to mind is typically Japan, which has churned out some of the most successful and lucrative video game franchises of all time including Mario, The Legend of Zelda and Pokemon. The African video game industry, however, is a rapidly growing market. In fact, in Kenya, this market has been valued at over $50 million, and this figure is expected to double by 2021. When speaking to the BBC, Lilian Nduati, chief executive of games developing company Liduque Works, states: “We’ve got young Africans who have travelled, they’re widely exposed, they’re thinking, ‘Hey, how come I’m not seeing someone who looks like me or speaks like me in some of the games that I’m playing?’ So what we’re trying to then do is fill the gap”. She adds: “We envision a future where we’ve produced a game from here, so from Africa to the world”.   

An advantage that Africa has which will aid its move to becoming a gaming industry superpower is that this is the only continent in the world with an increasing youth population. By 2050, Africa’s youth population (those aged between 0-24) is set to increase by almost 50%. It is of course this demographic that is likely to engage most substantively with mobile and gaming technologies and therefore drive the advancement of the industry. 

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Jake Walker-Charles