African-themed video games are a market with strong potential
Though most African gaming companies are still young, video games are becoming increasingly popular both across the continent and in the wider global market. In Africa, video game companies are creating high quality and localized content for African consumers. As Hugo Obi, the founder of Maliyo Games in Nigeria, recognizes, “we believe Africa-themed games is a market with a strong potential” due to the growing size of the population of internet subscribers. African video game companies are mostly found in Nigeria, Cameroon, Kenya, and South Africa. Here is a list of some of some companies producing fun, innovative content for gamers:
Kiro’o Games (Cameroon)
Kiro’o Games is the first video game studio in Central Africa. Madibe Olivier founded this company with just $100 and funds from a Kickstarter campaign. Kiro’o Games has created Aurion: The Legacy of the Kori-Odan, which is influenced by African folklore and mythology and features an African hero named Enzo. Olivier says the company plans to move into mobile gaming as well and wants to make Kiro’o Games the leader of gaming in Africa.
Chop Up is dedicated to creating “locally relevant mobile games that tell the African narrative.” The company creates world-class games rooted in African themes and stories. ChopUp’s flagship game series, Danfo, has a fan base of over 700,000 gamers in Nigeria, and is also played in the Diaspora. ChopUp has made six games and is mainly used on the Android platform.
Avena Games (Nigeria)
Avena Games is one of the leading mobile game developers in Africa and creates games across both mobile and PC platforms. In Africa, Avena Games is primarily played in Cameroon, Congo, Nigeria, Senegal, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.
Momentum Core (Nairobi, Kenya)
Momentum Core creates informative and fun games for children. One of their games, Refugee Movement, was made in partnership with UNHCR workers and encourages activism. Momentum Core also released the game Mosquito Hood in 2013, in which the government of Kenya pledged to “donate one mosquito net to a family living in a malarial zone” every time a player completed Mosquito Hood.
Maliyo Games (Nigeria)
Maliyo Games is Nigeria’s first online gaming company and is dedicated to “sharing the experiences of the everyday African with the world through interactive multimedia content.” The name “Maliyo” is inspired by the concept of moonlight stories and games in Hausa, a commonly spoken language in Northern Nigeria. Maliyo Games are relatable, engaging, and locally relevant, not to mention extremely popular.
Kuluya develops games across multiple platform and has created fifty-five “casual games” and five mobile games. The world “Kuluya” means “action” in the local Igbo language. In just eighteen months after its launch, Kuluya was valued at over $2 million. More than 60% of downloads from Kuluya Games are from Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa.
DreamAfrica (Nairobi, Kenya)
DreamAfrica is a “digital African-themed platform that delivers engaging and educational family friendly storybooks, comics, audiobooks and videos/animations.” As the largest ever-growing collection of African, Diaspora, and multilingual children’s content, DreamAfrica connects African authors and content creators to a global audience through its interactive mobile platform.
Gamsole is a mobile production company with the message, “From Africa, to the Word.” The company creates games for the Android, Windows, and Java platforms, and has created over fifty games in just two years. Abiola Olaniran, the founder of Gamosle, says that creating “African” games means combining “humor, lifestyle of the people, the literature, and creating entertainment […] such that anybody can relate to it and enjoy it.”