An established gaming industry requires the widespread availability of designers, developers, distributors, etc. working together. The mobile gaming and casino industry in West Africa is still in its nascent stages. That being said, the gaming industry in Nigeria is also in an early phase with immense scope to grow and develop.
Nigeria has made several strides to tap into the multi-billion dollar gaming industry. According to PWC reports, Nigeria’s revenues from gaming has increased from USD 65 million in 2013 to USD 117 million in 2017.
However, many of the games played in Nigeria are designed and developed abroad. This does not imply that the Nigerian gaming industry lacks unique concepts or coding abilities. However, the local developers do need to ensure that their products and operations are geared towards a global audience and adhere to international standards.
The development of games needs a nurturing environment comprising of a strong foundation. This would entail an ecosystem consisting of developers, designers, players and governmental support.
Even then, the success of a game is not guaranteed. In Nigeria, the gaming and casino industry is still evolving whereas in other parts of Africa and particularly South Africa there are a number of online gaming and casino sites operating.
This means that local developers need to strive hard to meet international standard if they are to catch up. Further, if the marketing and distribution of Nigerian games are top-notch, the local gamers would veer towards nationally produced games.
Access to funds is a significant issue within the Nigerian gaming industry today. There is no assurance that a specific game will become a phenomenal success.
This means that companies are cautious while extending funds for the development of new games. Further, many start-ups in the gaming industry rely on Venture capitalists and Angel investors as the local investors are reluctant to invest in this sector. The lack of adequate funding has impeded the growth of the gaming industry in Nigeria.
These problems aside, the mobile gaming industry in Nigeria is blossoming and shows no signs of slowing down. A French digital and social game publishing company, Gameloft, has recently opened offices in Lagos in 2016 after experiencing a staggering 536 percent growth in revenues in Africa over the past four years.
Despite challenges in the Nigerian mobile gaming industry, some companies are making huge strides globally. One such Nigerian company, Gamsole, is experiencing millions of downloads from players all over the world. According to Gamsole founder, Abiola Olaniran, the environment in Nigeria is ripe for investing in the mobile gaming industry.
Crossing the borders in mobile gaming is pertinent to the growth of the mobile gaming and casino industry in Nigeria. In fact, the success of a game is dependent on compelling storytelling, and Africa has many exciting stories. The worldwide success of the Japanese game, Nintendo, has shown us that gaming is not restricted by frontiers. In fact, movies produced in Nollywood have experienced global success due to their universal appeal. Hence, Nigerian designers and developers must focus on creating uniquely African games that have a global audience.
The mobile gaming sector in Nigeria has many facets that appeal to international investors and there is no reason that it can’t catch up with countries like South Africa. The market is not saturated and has exponential growth potential. The African population itself has better access to mobile phones through which they can monetize mobile games.
The Nigerian mobile gaming industry has the fundamentals to compete with international equivalents. However, the gaming community needs support and encouragement from various bodies such as local investors and government entities to create world-class mobile games.