Video gaming has been globally trending in the 21st century. This industry is emerging fast in East African countries including Kenya.These games include action, adventure, simulation,and role-playing, are played on platforms such as PC (Browser PC games), consoles (Boxed/Downloaded PC games) and mobiles (smartphones and tablets).
Video gaming in Kenya has rapidly grown since 2007 when companies started setting up bases in shopping centers and suburbs such as gaming cafes in Nairobi; Tric Gaming and Game Masters Kenya. Shared spaces,exchange programs, government grants and the presence of high-speed internet has allowed game developers and gamers to interact with the global arena. Kenya is now the sixth most popular gaming hub in Africa.
Kenya has hosted two international gaming competitions so far; a feat unmatched on the continent. Professional gamers play either for entertainment or for sport, usually with attractive monetary rewards. Most youths spend around 4-5 hours a day playing video games, and this allows them to develop problem-solving skills, socializing skills, creativity, and emotional intelligence.
According to Thorsten Wiedmann, the director and founder of the A MAZE who attended the Kenya-Germany Symposium 2019, he urged the game developers that , ‘gaming content should always be independent, artistic, experimental and alternative.’ Building a platform needs communication and engagement from other networking platforms and also international relations by involving professional gamer. Knowledge exchange is vital because gaming needs educated and experienced people who can create art that pushes beyond boundaries.
The video gaming industry in Africa is facing a lot of challenges.The misconception about the African market is a massive setback to the industry. Africa has always been left out of the gaming continents in the world. Africa’s video gaming revenue is not reflected in our data but rather in other territories. Google on the other hand, does not provide the number of gamers who download and play these online games. Enormous taxation on gaming prevents the development of industries and the purchase of games locally.
Despite the success, societal perception that video gaming is only for the male gender has been an issue facing female gamers in the industry. Before technology advanced, devices and games were male-heavy and restricted females from gaming. Female game developers and players have been harassed online by their male competitors. Most games are advertised to target the male audience and even feature male characteristics, and has made it to be more male-dominated. Introduction of tablets and smartphones has made it easier for the female gender to learn more skills and become developers and gamers.
Piracy in gaming has been an issue since the video gaming industry started and has changed the way games are perceived, developed, gamed, marketed and sold. Due to the fear of making losses.These games are expensive to purchase from the internet and thus leading to people preferring to download the cracked games from different sites.
Gamification is the new way of learning by virtual reality and simulated role-playing, involvement, engaging motivating,and entertaining. It gives one the capacity to find & use information.Gaming ecosystem consists of game developers, game publishers, gamer (consumers), distributors and brands and, advertisers.
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers 2017-2022 report, the video gaming industry in Kenya was worth $44 million (4.4 billion shillings) in 2013 and is expected to triple (22.4 percent increment) by 2020.The government should support the industry by implementing laws that will protect the video gaming industry at large and provision of programs for gamers to explore and learn more skills.