Propelling Africa’s e-gaming industry to explosive growth is a youth population of over 1 billion strong, with the number of African gamers doubling since 2015, from 77 million to 186 million today. This has made Africa one of the world’s fastest-growing gaming markets. Closer home, Kenya is ranked as the ninth most popular gaming hub in Africa. Today, a gamer playing behind closed doors with soundproof earplugs and control pads may become an overnight multimillionaire.

Industry leaders predict Africa will become the 3rd largest gaming market within 10 years. “We’re starting from essentially zero about five years ago,” says Jay Shapiro, Chairperson of the Pan-African Gaming Group. “Just through sheer demographics – the fact that Africa has more than a billion youth.”

Smartphone-Centric Market Offers Accessibility

Unlike Western regions, where consoles and PCs dominate, Africa’s gaming landscape is smartphone-centric. “Africa is very much a mobile-first continent,” Shapiro explains, predicting Africa will have more smartphones than India by 2026.

Africa surges to become the third largest e-gaming market with 186 million players
Africa surges to become the third largest e-gaming market with 186 million players

Developers are leveraging mobile’s accessibility to bring gaming to mass audiences. Facilities like Nairobi’s Afrigamer hub allow groups to gather for mobile gaming when unreliable internet prevents at-home play.

Shapiro also founded Usiku Games, an African mobile gaming startup. It focuses on creating “games for good” to provide a healthier alternative to Africa’s large sports betting industry.

Usiku Games has developed titles addressing real issues like climate change, gender equality, sexual health, and STEM education. “We think that the potential for African games that are made in Africa, either for Africa, or to share African stories with the world is just massive,” Shapiro says.

Capturing Authentic African Perspectives Remains a Challenge

While mobile titles drive much of the swell, some developers want to share African stories through PC and console games. Game producer Dean Gichukie is creating “Hiru,” a game depicting a Masai warrior’s journey.

He believes exploring virtual African worlds can build real cultural empathy. “Games are really powerful in that they’re able to place you within the world and reality of the player,” Gichukie says.

Yet major hurdles exist for creators like Gichukie trying to authentically capture African experiences. “There really isn’t an ecosystem of game developers who’ve made games for years, maybe even decades who we are able to lean on for support, for advice, for feedback, for assistance,” he notes.

Similarly, funding uniquely African games also lags markets like North America and Europe. But Gichukie remains adamant that showing “the journey of a young African man, this is what it’s like living in Africa and dealing with African problems on a daily basis” is crucial for the industry’s development.

As gaming continues to boom industry-wide, capturing and sharing local perspectives will help the continent find its distinct creative voice and fully leverage gaming’s empathy-building power.

We had a sit-down with Victor Karanja, a multifaced tech enthusiast and gamer. From a young age, Victor’s fascination with gaming took root, blossoming into a full-fledged passion that would shape his journey in both his personal and professional life.

Victor Karanja, gaming guru

“It all started when I was just a kid. After school, I would go to meet my mother at her office where I would play Prince of Persia on her computer,” Victor recalls, a nostalgic glint in his eye. “I remember playing my first game and being completely captivated by the immersive experience it offered.”

But Victor’s love affair with technology didn’t stop at gaming. As a gamer, he found himself drawn to the endless array of possibilities that the digital world had to offer in terms of socialization and interacting with others. “Gaming can be more than just a pastime; it’s a tool for personal growth and development. While some may not grasp its significance, the social aspect alone can’t be overlooked,” he muses.

Central to Victor’s tech ecosystem is his beloved Samsung OLED 4K S90C Smart TV—a masterpiece of modern engineering that serves as the cornerstone of his entertainment setup. “I can’t overstate the importance of having a quality display when it comes to gaming and multimedia consumption. I love the graphics quality of the Samsung TV combined with the Soundbar. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to improve image quality and bridge the resolution gap between 4K and 8K TVs,” Victor explains. “The OLED technology delivers stunning visuals with deep blacks and vibrant colors, while the 4K resolution ensures every detail pops with clarity.”

Samsung OLED 4K S90C Smart TV

For Victor, his Samsung OLED 4K S90C Smart TV isn’t just a screen—it’s a window into worlds beyond imagination, a canvas upon which the stories of countless games and movies come to life in breathtaking detail. “There’s something magical about being able to lose yourself in a virtual world,” he reflects. “And having a display of this caliber only serves to enhance that experience.”

According to Victor’s sentiments, the Samsung OLED 4K S90C Smart TV is a premier choice for gaming enthusiasts due to its exceptional blend of cutting-edge technology and immersive visual experience. Boasting OLED technology, this TV delivers unparalleled contrast and deep blacks, ensuring vivid, lifelike colors that enhance gaming environments to unprecedented levels of realism.

Its 4K resolution offers crystal-clear clarity, capturing every detail with stunning precision. The S90C’s fast response time and low input lag make it incredibly responsive to gaming inputs, resulting in seamless and fluid gameplay. With its smart TV capabilities, gamers can access a plethora of gaming content and streaming services effortlessly, further enriching their entertainment experience.

As our conversation draws to a close, Victor leaves us with a parting thought—a testament to the enduring allure of technology and gaming in his life. “For me, it’s not just about the games or the gadgets—it’s about the sense of wonder and possibility that they inspire. Countless times, gaming has thrust me into scenarios requiring quick thinking and adaptability—skills seamlessly transferable to real-life challenges. The resilience cultivated in virtual worlds translates into tangible solutions and confidence when facing obstacles offline” he says with a smile.