When it comes to gaming hotspots, Rwanda would not be the first country to spring to mind. Yet the sector is growing here, bringing with it lucrative revenue streams. How will the gaming industry improve in our thriving country?
Gaming in Rwanda
Forecasts for the Rwandan gaming industry have been strong for some time. By the end of the year, it is expected to have grown to a sizable annual revenue of USD 15.50 million. Each year, this is expected to grow by just over 11%, eventually reaching a market value of USD 24.15 million by 2027. It is also predicted that there will be just over four million gamers in the country by 2027.
Developing the industry in Rwanda will present some unique challenges compared to its western counterparts. Although many still believe gaming to be a younger pursuit, the figures show a different pattern. ExpressVPN conducted a survey in which they found that those who spend the most time gaming are in their late twenties to early forties. As age increases, people tend to spend more time per week gaming, with those forty-six and over spending more than 24 hours a week on the hobby.
In Rwanda, this is unlikely to happen. The landscape doesn’t resemble the west and developed Asian countries where many people have grown up with gaming – there, those who played Nintendo in the eighties are now starting to invest in new, bigger consoles and PC builds.
One factor the country does share with many others in the rest of the world is its appreciation of mobile gaming. By the end of 2023, this is expected to reach USD 10.92 million in revenue, giving it the lion’s share of the market. The reasons for this are simple: Many people now use their mobile devices as a one-stop shop, using them for everything from watching streaming television to playing games. Thus, a console or PC is not a practical budgetary item, though expenditure on a mobile device is.
With these figures, it is also unlikely that big players in gaming such as Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft will target the Rwandan market. One major barrier for them is the unreliability of online payment methods here. Many of these companies use subscription methods that are unsuited to the online infrastructure. Some countries have introduced pay-before-you-play models, particularly in other African countries, to combat this. Yet as most of the industry’s revenue is generated in China, this will see the trend continue unless a huge push is made for PC and console gaming.
None of this is just a figure though and the human impact is easy to see. The first eSports tournament was held in Africa in 2021, with the Rwandan Esports Organization managing the event. Competitors from Algeria, Ghana, and many more came to take part.
Much of this success will depend on socioeconomic factors far beyond the industry’s control. Yet if people have money and leisure time, they will undoubtedly look to gaming as not just a hobby, but soon as a way to earn a living. Before long and with the right investment, Rwanda could be the world’s next gaming hotspot.