A recent report on the African gaming sector called the “Africa Gaming Market - Growth, Trends and Forecasts (2020-2025)”, predicts that mobile gaming will be one of the key drivers in the sector over the next five years.
According to the report, the industry is expected to register annual growth (CAGR) of around 12% during this period. One of the factors driving the popularity of gaming in the region is the increasing popularity of gaming consoles. Given that Africa is the only region of the world where younger people as a proportion of the population are increasing, it is likely that gaming, along with other entertainment options, will grow more and more popular as time passes. By 2050, those between the ages of 0 and 24 years will increase by nearly 50%, thus showing how Africa will be one of the key markets for gaming in the coming years.
African studios and developers have also been thriving in recent years, with many local content developers reaching global recognition by being nominated for awards including the Oscars. The Annecy Festival 2020 will be focusing on animation in Africa, while various government initiatives are also being adopted to drive gaming solutions for educational purposes.
It has been seen that during the lockdown, gaming and other entertainment options have become extremely popular. According to the publication by Winz, there has been a large increase in online games, especially mobile games, with many developers focusing on mobile gaming during this time. One of the factors that have driven many people towards mobile gaming and entertainment was the near-global pause in sporting events, as live sports became nearly impossible to host during the first few months of the year. Thus, sports betting sites suffered huge losses, but at the same time, online gambling websites have reported huge increases in traffic and revenue, as more and more people logged onto these sites in the absence of traditional gambling venues, as well as through boredom.
Mobile gaming already has a huge footprint in Africa, providing more than half of gaming revenue, and this is expected to increase, as more than 200 million Africans are below the age of 35, providing a ready audience for the mobile gaming industry. The potential can be seen from the fact that there are nearly 300 million mobile users in just North Africa, where the mobile industry generates over $90 billion in revenue. The added potential to drive growth towards mobile gambling is also another factor that can push mobile gaming. However, one of the biggest drivers has been the acceleration of network rollouts by telecom companies, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Infrastructure development in the region increased 3G coverage from 63% in 2017 to 70% in 2018, bringing in an additional 80 million people. The potential for improvement in this regard can be seen by the fact that there are 3.3 billion people on the continent who live in areas served by mobile broadband but do not use mobile internet. This could prove to be a challenge for mobile gaming and gambling in Africa.
Another major issue that could affect growth is the various gambling and gaming laws in Africa. Most African nations have commissions and laws which regulate gambling, while online casinos are also quite popular across Africa. However, potential issues arising from underage gambling, as well as religious concerns, have led to calls for more restrictions on the practice, and this could impact the mobile gaming industry as well.
Lastly, the mobile gaming market is already quite fragmented, as there are quite a few popular games out there, as well as increasing demand for mobile games in Africa.