Gaming Innovators Gain Ground In Africa

Gaming Innovators Gain Ground In Africa

Gaming development is a relatively new frontier in Africa, and bringing the product to market has been challenging, but one Nigerian team is ready to show the world it has what it takes to develop cutting-edge solutions.

DEMO Africa, a pan-African launch pad for startups and emerging technologies, will introduce three new gaming products in October at the annual DEMO Africa conference in Nairobi, according to a report in HispanicBusiness.

They include Spyros Entertainment from Egypt; Kenya’s Jooist; and Nigeria’s ChopUp.

ChopUp is a social platform that connects mobile device gamers across Africa and allows them interact based on in-game achievements and points which can be transferred across games. The software is available for Java-enabled handsets and feature phones, but is moving into the smartphone territory.

Bayo Puddicombe, co-founder of the blockbuster game Danfo Reloaded, started working on the ChopUp concept after his team did a marketing promotion for Danfo players. A player could win up to $600 for being one of the top two scorers every week for five weeks. Puddicombe found that there was a lot of conversation among players on social media that developers were missing out on.

“The most interesting part of ChopUP as a driver for innovation is its potential to open up monetization possibilities not just for us, but also for other developers across Africa,” Puddicombe said.

His team is determined to change the game in mobile content discovery across Africa, and also help developers capture value from their users. ChopUp currently boasts of $315,000 profit application by targeting the African market which is predominantly a feature phone market.

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Being a relatively new frontier, gaming development has had its share of challenges when it comes to setting up the product.

“One of our biggest challenges was around fine-tuning the business model for ChopUP, especially when there were external dependencies of established channels in supporting industries,” Puddicombe said.

The team hopes to exploit the chance to pitch at DEMO Africa to show the world it has the capacity to develop cutting-edge innovative solutions out of Africa and also help the business move to the next level.

The mobile gaming industry is predicted to reach $54 billion by 2015, according to infographic gaming statistics, the report said. Eighty-four percent of tablet owners play games while 70- to -80 percent of all mobile downloads are games. Android is expected to overtake Apple in the number of total available apps, and in-game purchases to overtake pay-per-downloads by this year, the report said. Angry Birds has been downloaded 140-million times. Developers made $87 million in ad revenue in 2010 and that is expected to grow 10-fold by 2015.