Two Zambian eSports gamers have done the country proud by winning big at the Pro Series Gaming Tournament in Nairobi, Kenya. Justin Banda won 1st place and K50,000 and Mwelele Zaza won 3rd place and K10,000, both representing Team Gematrix.
Liquid Telecom Kenya participated by delivering free ‘gamer-quality’ internet connection, as part of its 5-year initiative to boost Africa’s gaming industry, under which the group is running and supporting launch pads, forums and training sessions continent-wide for game developers. In addition, Liquid Telecom Kenya had also provided free 250Mbps internet to support gaming and streaming from the East Africa Gaming Convention (EAGC), where a host of new African games were launched.
“Gaming is emerging as an industry in Kenya and East Africa, now delivering growth of 25% a year or more, with African games and gamers moving into the global arena and the industry delivering globally over $100 billion of sales a year,” said Ben Roberts, Chairman of Liquid Telecom Kenya and Group Chief Technology and Innovation Officer for Liquid Telecom.
In Kenya, last year, gaming sales amounted to Sh2.7bn ($27m), placing the country among the top new gaming nations in Africa, behind the Sh19.3bn ($193m) Egyptian games industry, Sh17.3bn ($173m) Nigerian games industry, and Sh11.8bn ($183m) South African industry. Sudan has, likewise, made it into the region’s fastest growing gaming markets, with gaming sales in 2017 of Sh1.8bn ($18m), according to global research company Statista.
Liquid Telecom’s support for the rising eSports industry is helping to stimulate new jobs in game development. The Africa Game Developers Community was formed earlier this year, and has now grown to approximately 30 members in Kenya and more than 80 across Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Zambia, and Ghana.
The tournament, which is the second in the series, but the first to offer large cash wins, had attracted 40 top players – 30 from Kenya, seven Ugandans, two Zambians, and one Malawian – in a gathering that is moving the sector towards being a spectator sport.
This high-speed and unlimited internet connection was key to game developers such as Sim-U-nation, which works in partnership with production studio SanaaWavelab Media, and recently launched its motor rally game – Zawadi the Game.
“Our game relies on a strong online connection and one of the things that Liquid Telecom has done is to provide these connections so gamers can have extremely high access to each other’s data, which allows for very good gaming. In gaming we need fast trans-communication with each machine because of downloading large files,” said Ed Behr, the Sim-U-Nation developer.
Earlier this year, Liquid Telecom also ran its first Launchpad for game developers in Cape Town where a Kenyan company Kukua emerged the winner for its educational game Sema Run. The company won six months free mentorship in the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) Cape Town incubator.
“These early-stage game development companies will evolve into bigger studios that will create jobs for animators, creators, programmers and digital marketers. We also see the rise of professional YouTubers that are paid to play video games, which is a popular concept in the UK that will also develop in Africa,” said Ben Roberts.
“Overall, this industry is a huge opportunity across Africa, and offering it free support, reliable high capacity infrastructure and incubation is the fastest way we see of converting that into an employment and economic reality,” he said.