The African gaming industry is a growing force to be reckoned with, and this growth is nothing short of inspiring. One of the key drivers of this growth is the rise of gaming influencers, who are using social media to promote African-developed games and boost their perceived value.
Mekan Games’ The President game is a prime example of the power of influencers in the gaming world. With rave reviews on YouTube and articles written about its success, the game quickly soared to the top of international charts, with 10 million downloads just months after its launch.
In an interview on The Johana Riquier Show, Evans Kiragu, Founder of Mekan Games said, “I think it really hit me that the game was going to go viral when I started noticing that some creators on YouTube were making some really funny gameplay videos and recording themselves as they play the game and experience the humor that is in it. I think as game developers we love creating games but when someone else picks up the game and creates content around the game, it probably means that we have a really good product.”
But it’s not just about the numbers. The growth of professional gamers and E-sports athletes, such as Sylvia Gathoni (Queen Arrow), who was listed on Forbes Africa’s Top 30 Under 30 innovators list in 2022, is a testament to the industry’s potential to create new opportunities and change perceptions.
Building a successful gaming career in Africa comes with its challenges. For instance, Sylvia said “Choosing E-sports as a career somewhat alienated me from my folks and some of my friends who couldn’t fully wrap their heads around what I was doing. It’s only when I began to become more successful that they began to understand the vision.”
In addition, the cost of importing equipment and the financial investment required can be daunting, and as Sylvia said not everyone understands the vision. But as more and more success stories emerge, the industry is gaining credibility and respect.
Working with the right influencers is a crucial part of the equation. They can help create a new mentality that drives players to try new games and follow the actions of others in the gaming community. Building relationships with influencers and providing value to them in exchange for promotion is a win-win situation, and can be a powerful tool for boosting the perceived value of African-developed games.