2022 was a significant year for many industries, including the global gaming industry. While the market wasn’t quite able to continue the stratospheric growth it experienced post-2019, global revenues at the year’s end still showed a healthy result.
In Africa, the year brought with it some major developments and initiatives: Africa Games Week successfully launched, and nine national games development studios joined the Africa Games Coproduction Market. Even Africa’s mobile gaming segment got a boost, as Carry1st secured as much as $27 million in investments.
The global gaming industry is vast, and the most compelling trends vary from continent to continent. For example, the US and Canada are currently seeing a resurgence of the iGaming market, which encompasses real money gaming and sports betting. A number of gaming platforms have established a presence there in recent years, including PokerStars Casino. The platform, which is renowned for offering card and table games including blackjack, has made its portfolio of digital variants available to gamers in Ontario and several US states. With more states set to offer real-money gaming in the coming months, it’s a booming trend.
So, what are the key gaming trends for Africa during 2023 and beyond? Let’s take a look.
The Growth of Gaming in Africa
According to Mordor Intelligence, the African gaming industry is expanding at a rapid rate. During the next five years, the industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.65%, in particular thanks to the rise of mobile gaming and increased internet connectivity in the region.
This growth will also be boosted by the integration of advanced technologies like 5G, which is set to be a significant player in the expansion of competitive gaming across Africa. According to Ericsson’s Mobility Report, the Middle East & Africa region could be home to as many as 60 million 5G users in the next year, which itself would account for around 3% of all mobile subscriptions in the region.
According to Businessinsider, mobile gaming is set to take over as the primary entertainment medium in Africa. The platform notes that the African games industry has reached a critical threshold, partly thanks to the burgeoning popularity of mobile gaming and a thriving eSports scene. As of 2021, Africa boasts approximately 186 million gamers, with 95% of them preferring mobile as their platform of choice.
Interestingly, the way also seems clear for a mobile gaming takeover across Africa. In contrast to many Western regions where mobile gaming faces competition from PC and consoles, Africa has established its games industry around mobile gaming, which has resulted in more consistent and stable growth than, say, mobile gaming in the UK. This trend is further bolstered by the rise in internet access and payment ecosystems, which make gaming much more accessible compared to other forms of entertainment.
Collaboration at the Forefront
As demonstrated last year, collaboration has been central to the mobilisation and growth of gaming in Africa. As 2023 develops, collaboration is set to remain a prevalent theme throughout the continent, especially as several countries will become more interested in combining their expertise, insights and resources to achieve a common outcome.
Experts within the industry have predicted that collaboration will be especially strong in 2023 between North African nations and their Middle Eastern counterparts.
In conjunction with the continued expansion of mobile gaming across Africa, the segment is likely to continue attracting further investments. Carry1st, in addition to successfully raising its Series A investment in 2022 for the game ‘The President’, is now undergoing further fundraising with backing from “heavyweight” gaming venture capitalists like Andreessen Horowitz and Bitkraft.
Furthermore, Tunisia’s Galatech has recently entered into a share swap agreement with the Egyptian eSports platform Gbarenea. Valued at $15 million, it’s a clear indication of the value of African gaming IP.
The Gaming Genres Coming out on Top
While hypercasual games, premium mobile gaming experiences, and the usual fare of MOBAs and RTS games will continue to do well in Africa during 2023, more game developers in the continent are increasingly centring local culture and experiences in their gaming output.
Games based on African folklore, history, and mythology are gaining attention, for example, while adventure games that explore the continent’s diverse landscapes and wildlife are also growing in popularity.