Changes within the gaming industry have been occurring very speedily in recent years as the internet continues growing. Checking out the end of year reports and predictions of the industry from a global perspective usually presents bold forecasts and intriguing numbers. However, they can be frustrating for those interested in the economic trends of the African gaming industry as it is usually excluded.
According to Research and Markets forecast, the gaming industry as a whole is expected to see a 12% CAGR between 2020 and 2025. This rise is expected because of the increased availability of gaming consoles with different functions. At $140 billion, the video game industry globally is ahead of the film industry by $100 billion.
Serge Thiam, a digital strategy director for Stay Connect stated that in 2014, Africa had 23 million video game players. This figure rose dramatically to about 500 million in 2018 because of the rising accessibility of smartphones. This expansion is expected to generate millions of new jobs.
African Gaming Industry Development in 2020 – 2025
Gaming within African began less than 30 years ago. The market rocketed by over $460 million between 2014 and 2018. Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy with a population of over 180 million had the highest expenditure at about $122 million. Africa is the only world region that has a growing youth population. Estimates see 50% of Africa’s population will be made up of people between 0 and 24 years by 2050. The youth are important to Africa’s future, particularly with respect to gaming.
A lot of countries in Africa regulate gambling through gaming commissions and laws. South Africa has very clear rules regarding gambling and is a pioneer in that respect within the continent. South Africa has seen many attempts to restrict online gaming in recent years but these have been mostly postponed. At provincial levels, there have instead been implementations of fewer restrictions. Debates are ongoing on the morality of the supposedly high percentage of minors who engage in online gambling.
Other factors promoting this rise between 2020 – 2025 forecast period include:
- Rapid growth in internet coverage and smartphone purchases.
- Innovations with payment methods. In the past, few properly licensed online gambling establishments were operating because transactions were difficult or impossible. The cryptocurrency boom has even presented an easy alternative to traditional payment methods.
- Wider diversity among gamblers. Previous stereotypes of gamblers are being tossed out. There is a lot more personal freedom for people within the continent. Marginalized groups are fighting for and gradually obtaining equal opportunities. This includes women who have previously been largely unable to make their own money and use it how they please.
Key Trends at the African Gaming Markets
- Mobile games produce almost half of the revenue within the gaming industry every year. Over 200 million Africans are under 35 and this value seems like it will double in 10 years. Africa also is a big market for smartphones and gaming companies.
- Even in remote parts of the continent, mobile gaming is finding users. More than 290 million people in North Africa own smartphones. This region alone generates $90 billion in the mobile market every year.
- A serious catalyst of growth within this niche is the hike in real money gaming in Africa. Huge parts of the continent are permitting legal gambling.
- The rapid developments and improvement of in-network service providers in Sub-Saharan Africa have quickly reduced the coverage gap. 3G coverage grew from 63% to 70% in 2018, giving access to 80 million people. 3.3 billion people have access to mobile broadband but no internet and this has been negatively affecting gaming companies.
The coronavirus pandemic has been devastating to industries globally because of movement restrictions implemented to curb its spread. However, streaming services and gaming businesses are thriving. The suspension of various professional sporting activities has left punters without live matches to bet on. This has caused a massive drop in sports betting revenue.
Traditional gambling is experiencing big losses. Yet online gambling sites report massive rises in activities on their sites since March 2020, when lockdowns were implemented in most countries. Though South African online casinos are enjoying this hike, as financial pressures worsen with the lockdown, people may become less willing to place bets.
The Future of African Gaming Industry Is Bright
The talent pool for gaming developers in Africa going to increase with time and knowledge sharing is more feasible than ever before. This will no doubt add to the already impressive innovation in global gaming technology. There is so much potential within this market though it is currently fragmented with rising demand for online games.
The competitive landscape is evolving. May 2020 says Sony announced a new console, the new PlayStation 5. Konami Digital Entertainment in August 2019 announced that the mobile version of PES 2020 will be available by October 2020. PES 2019 had more than 200 million downloads in 2020. There is so much to look forward to.