Why is the gaming market in Africa growing so fast?

The African gaming market is the fastest-growing in the world and should reach 400 million gamers by 2027. What is behind this growth and what can be expected in the future? We show you!

João Paulo Notini
May 23, 2023
6 min read
a gaming keyboard with a joystick

Although it is still in its infancy, the African gaming market should reach 400 million gamers and a value of almost US$4 billion by 2027, according to Statista. The continent has emerged as a powerhouse in the global gaming industry, experiencing remarkable growth and capturing the attention of both developers and investors worldwide.

With an exponential rise in the number of gamers and a surge in professional players, and thriving game development studios, global gaming brands can’t oversee the opportunities there. So, this blog post will delve into the reasons behind Africa’s rapid ascent as the fastest-growing gaming market in the world.

Are you ready to play? Keep reading!

The Rise of African Game Industries

Growing faster than the world’s average, Africa’s gaming market is expected to increase by 45.13% in the next five years. African game industries have been pivotal in driving this growth, with increasing access to technology, a growing middle class, and improved internet connectivity.

Local game development studios like Carry1st have gained recognition for innovative and culturally relevant games that resonate with African gamers.

Africa’s gaming market size

Africa's market size per gaming channel
Source: Statista, 2022

Africa’s number of gamers

Africa's number of gamers

Now that you are aware of the African gaming market, let’s look at the top-five countries with the largest sales volume according to Statista.
1) Egypt US$681.30M
2) South Africa – US$347.50M
3) Nigeria – US$286.30M
4) Ethiopia – US$195.10M
5) Algeria US$194.30

South Africa: A Hub of Gaming Excellence

South Africa, in particular, has emerged as a leading force in the African gaming scene. The second-largest gaming market in the continent is experiencing a substantial digital behavior maturation; meanwhile, digital payments are becoming increasingly common in the country.

The country boasts a vibrant gaming community and a rapidly growing eSports ecosystem and has seen a surge in the number of gamers, with some even turning professional. Meanwhile, the game development industry has gained significant traction, attracting international attention.

Game development studios in South Africa, such as Free Lives, have produced globally acclaimed titles like “Broforce” and “Gorn,” contributing to the country’s reputation as a hub of gaming excellence.

The Future of Mobile Gaming in Africa 

One of the key factors driving the growth of the African gaming market is the widespread adoption of mobile gaming. In a continent with 1.3 billion people and an increasingly young and mobile-first population, Africa has the world’s largest share of mobile internet traffic.

So, when it comes to playing games, mobile phones are more accessible and affordable than traditional gaming consoles or PCs, making them the primary gaming platform for many Africans. 

According to FurtherAfrica, the future of mobile gaming in Africa is promising. As smartphone penetration continues to increase, more Africans are embracing mobile gaming as entertainment, resulting in a significant boost to the gaming market. This trend has caught the attention of global gaming companies, leading to increased investment in the continent. 

The Share of Mobile internet traffic worldwide (first chart)

Mobile Subscriptions x Account Penetration x Internet Users in Africa (second chart)
Source: Beyond Borders 2022/2023

Increasing Global Inclusion

Africa’s position in the gaming market has gained global recognition, with industry players increasingly paying attention to the continent. The unique gaming culture and untapped market potential have led to collaborations and partnerships between African and international gaming companies. 

The continent’s vibrant gaming community has also been embraced by global eSports events, with African gamers participating and competing on an international stage. In 2022, for example, Africa hosted its first-ever major eSports tournament, the Africa Esports Championship, which attracted participants from across the continent. 

This recognition and exposure have opened opportunities for African gamers to showcase their skills and establish themselves as competitive players in the global gaming arena. For instance, South African gamer Julia “Bish” Robson gained international recognition by competing at the highest level in the popular game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

The growth of eSports in Africa has also led to the establishment of professional gaming teams and leagues. In Nigeria, the African Gaming League (AGL) organizes regular eSports tournaments and operates as a platform for African gamers to compete and showcase their talent. 

The AGL and other initiatives across the continent have seen a significant rise in participation and viewership, attracting sponsors and investment in the local eSports ecosystem. Thus, it is clear that the inclusion of African gamers in global gaming events has not only elevated their profiles but has also contributed to the growth of the African gaming market.

The next level for the African gaming market 

With a large and diverse population, growing technological infrastructure, and a hunger for engaging content, Africa presents a vast and untapped gaming market with immense potential. As the continent continues to foster the growth of its gaming industry, it is poised to become a significant player in the global gaming market. 

The current economic impact of the gaming industry must be considered. According to a report by Mordor Intelligence, the African gaming market is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, driven by increasing disposable income, urbanization, and technological advancements. 

Africa’s status as the fastest-growing gaming market in the world presents tremendous opportunities for job creation, entrepreneurship, and revenue generation across the continent. As infrastructure and connectivity continue to improve, more Africans will have access to gaming experiences, paving the way for continued growth and innovation.

The journey has just begun, and the future holds great potential for the African gaming community to leave its indelible mark on the world stage. Thus, global gaming brands must recognize their unique opportunities there.

So, how to tap into these opportunities?

At EBANX, we strive to help global gaming brands reach and succeed in growing markets, such as Africa, through payments. Are you ready to leverage your gaming business in Africa?

Discover EBANX solutions for Africa

João Paulo Notini
João Paulo Notini
Senior Content Marketing | Cross-Border operations at EBANX

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