By Conrad Onyango, bird story agency
In 2022, games sold in Nigeria generated US$249.4 million in revenue - the largest in Africa - according to a new report by research firm, Newzoo.
The same report shows Ethiopia was the fastest-growing market, with a 13 percent growth rate, generating US$42.7 million.
Higher adoption of smartphones by young mobile subscribers in the two most populous countries on the continent is the main reason for the growth in gaming revenues on the continent, which reached US$862.8 million in 2022.
The Global Gaming Market report 2023 by Research and Markets shows rising global adoption of smartphones and increasing internet speeds will help to sustain expansion of mobile gaming market over the coming years.
“The surge in demand for mobile games has also been significantly influenced by the increasing mobile cellular subscription... As a result, these games draw players from a variety of demographic groups globally and contribute to their expansion,” according to Research and Markets.
According to the research firm, the global gaming industry was worth just over US$150 billion in 2020 will rise to over US$250 billion by 2027.
Games sold in Africa will breach the US$1 billion mark for the first time in 2024, driven by rising numbers of young mobile phone subscribers, according to Newzoo’s projection.
While Nigeria, with a population of 213 million, has a well-established mobile phone and data market, Ethiopia, with 120 million people, is a market in transition. After providing regional giant Safaricom with a license to start operations in 2021, the Ethiopian Communications Authority has launched a tender for a second license, to further rev up competition in the country's massive market.
Apart from fostering competition, Ethiopia’s Communication regulator says the second license will help in “building a vibrant ICT ecosystem that drives innovation, creating job opportunities and contributing to national economic growth, and increasing the visibility of Ethiopia as an attractive FDI destination”. The transformation will also make gaming far more accessible and is likely to improve the online gaming experience.
GSMA, the non-profit organisation representing mobile network operators worldwide, predicts that out of the nearly 100 million unique African subscribers joining mobile services for the first time between 2020 and 2025, Nigeria and Ethiopia will account for almost a third. A large proportion of those subscribers will be young, and interested in data services.
“Young subscribers are more likely to be tech-savvy and keen on adopting mobile internet services, particularly more advanced 4G and, where available, 5G services. This is one trend to watch, given the implications for high-speed connectivity and the creation and distribution of digital services in the region,” according to GSMA.
By 2025, the continent will have over 613 million new subscribers, accounting for 50% of the region's population.
Africa’s sizeable proportion of under-18s, GSMA said, will strengthen subscriber growth for the foreseeable future as young consumers move into adulthood and are able to subscribe to mobile services, including gaming.
According to Newzoo’s Global Gaming Report 2023, the number of players worldwide will grow by 6.3% by end of 2023 to 3.38 billion, with rising number of young smartphone users expected to drive revenue growth by 2026.
“Mobile will contribute to most of this growth. As gaming continues to permeate the mainstream and young people age up, player numbers will rise across the board,” said Newzoo Lead Games Analyst, Tom Wijman, in the report.
While a 'challenging privacy landscape’ is seen ‘somewhat’ limiting mobile games revenue growth in globally established markets, Newzoo report lists Africa alongside Middle East as markets that will record the highest revenue growth rates despite low - less than 5%- global revenue share.
Other big gaming markets in terms of revenues in Africa are South Africa (US$236 million), Kenya (US$46 million) and Ghana (US$34 million).
After pandemic-induced turbulence, the report projects that global games revenues will pick up in 2023 and see a surge to US$ 212.4 billion by 2026.
bird story agency