Ten game development studios in Africa have come together under one umbrella, the Pan Africa Gaming Group (PAGG), in an effort to unify the continent’s gaming sector, which is currently fragmented. The association is further envisioned to drive the uptake of gaming in the continent, and grow developer talent.
The announcement was made today against the backdrop of the Africa Games Week 2022, which is taking place in Cape Town, South Africa. The PAGG said they aim to grow the industry by two times annually, and to put Africa “on the map of the global game industry.”
The gaming studios in the new lobby are South Africa’s Sea Monster, Senegal’s Kayfo Games, Cameroon’s Kiro’o Games, Ghana’s Leti Arts, Tunisia’s Digital Mania, Ethiopia’s Qene Games, Kenya’s Usiku Games, Tanzania’s Khanga Rue, DopeApps from Rwanda and Messeka Games, with more expected to join soon. Collectively, the current members have developed more than 50 games.
The PAGG will bring together games developed by its members for publishing under Gara, an African game store, and Afrocomix, a content hub for Afrocentric creative work. These channels will enable content distribution and monetization by allowing locally relevant payment options, including mobile money and airtime billing. They also plan to increase the number of Africa’s next-generation game developers through training and incubation, a function that has already taken off in Kenya, at the Nairobi Game Development Center.
“One of our core values is not just to build a collection of games, but to incubate Africa’s gaming industry of tomorrow. There is a wealth of incredible talent already on the continent, with more graduating every year from top-tier game development schools like Rubika. Most graduates though are relegated to doing remote work for overseas clients due to the lack of local gaming job opportunities. We’re going to fix that,” said Leti Arts CEO Eyram Tawia.
The lobby will be governed by a founders’ council to be made up of top gaming entrepreneurs from the continent and joined by Peter Kihara (ex-Goldman Sachs and PWC), who will serve as the group financial officer, and Jake Manion, the BAFTA-nominated director and former game director at Aardman Animation in U.K., as the group creative director.
Each gaming studio will maintain its autonomy but will be involved in voting proposals or resolutions brought forth by the council. Dawit Abraham, the CEO of Qene Games (Ethiopia) will be the PAGG’s spokesperson.
The gaming industry in Africa is set to grow exponentially due to a soaring interest amongst the youth, and as more people get connected to the internet. According to the 2021 GSMA mobile economy report, 303 million people, about 28% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa, are connected to mobile internet, a number that is set to grow to 474 million by 2025, creating an even bigger market for the gaming industry.
South Africa has the highest saturation of gamers across Africa, with 24 million people (almost half of its population) playing, according to the Games Industry Africa report. Other major markets include Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia. In 2021, South Africa generated the most total annual gaming revenue at $290 million, followed by Nigeria ($185 million), Ghana ($42 million), Kenya ($38 million) and Ethiopia ($35 million).