Mobile lead Africa’s gaming industry

Posted on April 29, 2017 12:00 am

More than 650 million Africans have access to mobile phone with a third being smartphones according to the latest data and it seems like Africa’s gaming industry has scored big again. Data your blogger has obtained shows that Africa’s interactive games has found and confirmed that there has been another double-digit growth in video game sales alone last year. For the third time in a row, Africa’s digital sales have also managed to outperform traditional video game retail sales. Sales of digital content for video games have grown 13 percent. Video game retail sales, on the other hand added a two percent total value in 2016. Additional data says that current generation console systems have also boosted the sales growth of both software and accessories. On the other hand, the mobile gaming continues to dominate the industry in Africa.It has been another very strong year of growth for the African video games industry Digital sales continue to surge in Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt as consumers become increasingly comfortable purchasing downloaded versions and additional content of their favourite games. The current generation of consoles have been adopted rapidly by consumers in Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and Angola, highlighting that gaming culture has become well and truly mainstream in the intervening years. This has had a flow on effect to the increased sale of both packaged games and digital content. However, the data still shows that there is a huge demand for traditional retail boxed games. About 22 percent of gamers still prefer physical copies of video games as it can be added to one’s collection and it can also be given as a gift to other gamers.Overall, the different distribution channels and means for the video game industry has played a big part in its growth. While physical copy of PC games slowed last year, console and mobile gaming have bolstered the market to where it is now.Overall, the data shows mobile devices used for gaming have increased by to 87% in 2016, officially outperforming gaming consoles by 50%. In Kenya and South Africa, the majority of mobile gamers surveyed play to pass the time, have fun, and relax. More than 20% of Africa’s population plays video games, but 5% of major cities homes with children have video games in their house with Abuja, Nairobi, Cairo, Johannesburg being at the forefront.

More than 10% of households have 2 or more screens for viewing various types of media. More than 20% of those surveyed have 2 or more devices for playing games, including smartphones, tablets, and handheld gaming devices. Smartphones accounted for 65% of devices used for gaming among both African adults and children. Tablets accounted for 20% gaming devices used by adults, and 30% of devices children used to play games. Casual African gamers play for 6 minutes, three times per day while 40% of those surveyed play online games with their partners. Slow internet and low data limits cause over half of mobile users to forego game downloads at home.More than 60% of Africans choose not to download a game due to fear of going over their mobile data limits. Handheld devices made up 52% of devices used by adult gamers and  70% of devices used by African children.The average age of all African gamers has increased over the past one year to 28 years old.At least 60% of all Africans surveyed play games, up from 48% in 2015.The average African gamer has been playing games for 7 years and 80% of all children under the age of 18, 87% of 18-60 year-olds, and 4% of 65-94 year-olds play video games. Also, 45% of African gamers have streamed gameplay videos and 40% have created this type of content to share their gameplay knowledge while 43% of African gamers have posted videos of their gameplay, adding a social element to gaming. As digital sales for video games surged in 2016, mobile gaming has increased the competition in the video gaming industry. Going through the numbers, mobile games on smartphones and tablets are now the largest video gaming sector.Its rise in popularity also brought about more digital content to be consumed, as digital content game sales increased. Mobile gaming is dominating the video gaming market in Africa, but it isn’t just for gaming and entertainment. As consumers become more comfortable with purchasing online content, mobile games are gaining popularity among the middle aged as a way to increase mental stimulation and fight stress.The increase of gaming in Africa presents a problem for the broadband industry. As multiple screens and fresh, exciting content expand Africans’ options for game play, the broadband challenges constrains it. However, mobile gaming has now taken over from traditional gaming platforms as Africans young and old become familiar with gaming concepts and themes. All that is missing is to develop branded game strategies that are engaging and appropriate to the African consumers.

Contador Harrison