Africa Aims to Be A Major Mobile Gaming Centre

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By Vittorio Hernandez | November 6, 2012 9:57 AM EST

Africans are making a bid to be a major hub of mobile gaming. With more than 700 million mobile broadband subscribers in the entire continent, a growing number of young entrepreneurs are going digital and creating innovative and interactive content in their own home market.

Nigeria is one of the largest countries in Africa with the fastest growing Internet users, fastest growing mobile users, and one of the known growing population for the digital market.

A lot of people in Africa have changed lives with the touch of latest technology in mobile devices and gaming and the combination of both.

Games are well populated in the mobile devices and with the evolution of the smart phone in stores, the games are far more powerful and almost similar to computers.

Modern technology has allowed mobile phone owners to use touch, gestures, and even motion to play games in smartphones. Among the developers of these games are Zynga in the U.S. and Maliyo in Africa.

Zynga Games, a provider of social game services, is located in San Francisco, California. The company develops games that work both stand-alone on mobile phone platforms such as Apple iOS and Android, and as application widgets on its Web site. Zynga have games as well in other portals such as Facebook, Google+, and Tencent. The list of games from Zynga includes Bubble Safari, Cafe World, CityVille, FarmVille, FishVille and Zynga Poker+. As of late July 2012, it has over 306 million monthly active users.

Zynga inspired Maliyo Games, Hugo Obi, to create games about the everyday experiences of Africans for a global audience. The games have narratives, environments and sounds to make the experience more enjoyable. One of their famous games is the Okada Ride which describes a hot day in Lagos and set in busy roads with the player challenged to get to work quickly. Numerous obstacles include pedestrians, hawkers, road barriers and law enforcement agents in the way.

"Okadas (motorbikes) are everywhere - it's insane. Our game allows people to get a local interactive experience. They can drive around potholes and tuk tuks. We brought in local sounds from busy streets. There is that connectivity," CNN quoted Mr Obi.

Another effort is from Anne Shongwe who established Afroes in 2009, a digital company whose aim is to develop education games for African teens and young adults.

People from different countries have found different uses for smartphones beyond its traditional role as a communication tool.

Uses of Smartphones

  • Entertainment through gaming, music, and movies via stored data or streaming.
  • Connectivity is a modern pattern in smartphones with its capability to link to the Internet. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and other similar portals enable the users to be virtually connected with their love ones. It also allows users to check in places to indicate to their social circle where they are or have been to.
  • Business functions like Office software, business system syncing exclusive in companies, and email synchronization provided by certain smartphone brands such as BlackBerry.
  • Portable device capable of doing some computer functions like opening PDF Files, storing large data files via SD cards, accessing documents in the email or storage sites via the Internet, surfing through mobile browser, and watching movies using Flash plugin.

Like China and India which are now considered booming consumer markets, Africa - with its population - will be a great potential market for large tech companies such as Apple, Samsung, and LG that manufactures mobile devices capable of improving lives in the once dark continent.

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