According to GameAnalytics, the number of mobile gamers grew from 1.2 billion to 1.75 billion per month within the first quarter of 2020, marking an increase of 46 percent. Picture: Pexels
According to GameAnalytics, the number of mobile gamers grew from 1.2 billion to 1.75 billion per month within the first quarter of 2020, marking an increase of 46 percent. Picture: Pexels

Gaming sector in Africa ‘set for 12% growth’

By Given Majola Time of article published Jul 5, 2021

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VIDEO gaming is a rapidly growing market with Africa currently experiencing astonishing growth, creating multiple opportunities for mobile operators to tap into, finds esports playbook, titled The Potential of Mobile Gaming – Revenue Opportunities for Mobile Operators in Africa.

Forest Interactive, a developer of scalable mobile platforms, said last week that this development was primarily supported by the region’s sizeable youth population.

According to the report, lockdown measures imposed globally had contributed to the gaming industry’s spike in revenue.

“The African gaming industry is expected to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR ) of 12 percent over the forecast period (2021 – 2026) with the region’s top game developers coming from countries like Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda.

According to GameAnalytics, the number of mobile gamers grew from 1.2 billion to 1.75 billion per month within the first quarter of 2020, marking an increase of 46 percent. Consumers spent over $19 billion (R271bn) on mobile games in the second quarter 2020. (Some) 21 percent of Android and 25 percent of iOS apps downloaded were games. By 2022, it was predicted that Android games would be responsible for 56 percent of all mobile game revenue, the report said.

Country manager at Forest Interactive Morocco, Houda Lahrichi, said the growth of connectivity in Africa had surpassed that of countries in Europe and Asia in recent years.

“The expansion of the 4G network in the region also contributed to the increased number of esports players. The esports market in Africa is a mobile operator gold mine as countless efforts have been developed by industry associations, esports league, gaming centres, and gaming shops,” said Lahrichi.

The video games market in South Africa was said to have specifically witnessed strong growth in the past few years and was expected to continue in this direction. In 2017, the total revenue generated from the industry was more than R3bn, which would grow at a 15 percent CAGR to reach R6.2bn by next year.

Africa was the only region in the world where the youth population is increasing. More than 200 million Africans are below 35 years old. By 2050, Africa’s youth, aged between 0 and 24 years old, will increase by nearly 50 percent. Combined with the proliferation of mobile technology, particularly smartphones, the adoption of common digital-based activities such as gaming, social media, and online shopping had increased, the report said.

Mobile gaming was said to have generated close to half the revenue that the gaming industry gets annually. Newzoo predicted that the consumer revenue would increase to more than $200bn by 2023. Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, and South Africa were the main markets on the rise in Africa.

Algerians’ favourite gaming genres were action/adventure, racing, sports, and puzzle. In 2006, Algeria was the only African country to have participated in the Electronic Sports World Cup (ESWC). A staggering 74 percent of Algeria’s adult population played mobile games and spent more than 3.5 hours on their mobile devices a day playing games. The top two mobile operators, Mobilis and Djezzy, accounted for 72.5 percent share of total mobile subscriptions in 2019.

In 2018, Egypt was Africa’s biggest video gaming market, having accumulated $293 million in revenue despite barriers of entry like slow broadband speeds and high console prices. In the Mena region, referring to the Middle East and North Africa, Egypt had the highest population of gamers at 68 percent where 14 percent played on consoles while 58 percent used a smartphone or a tablet.

According to Newzoo, South Africa’s 20.3 million gamers spent $120m on video games in 2019, up 9.4 percent year-on-year and mainly from mobile games. It was reported that the console market also had a high potential to climb in the next few years due to rising disposable income amongst residents.

South Africa was the only African country with local servers for most major games.

Newzoo forecast the global esports market revenue would reach $1.6m in 2023 with approximately 646 million audiences worldwide. In 2019, South African gamers spent $210m on games, according to Newzoo, 2020. More than 70 percent of South African youth, between ages 18 and 26, had spent money on games according to Statista, 2021.

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