Nigerian gaming company Gamsole has become the newest entrant into an industry that is slowly taking shape, with companies such as Maliyo Games and Kuluya gaining international recognition and eying the US$67 billion global market.
Gamsole’s founder Olaniran Abiola is optimistic that, very soon, Africans will embrace local content such as games in the same way Nigerian music and movies have spread across continent.
“When I was growing up, we used to listen to western music. Now we all listen to West African hits and this will catch up to products like gaming,” he told HumanIPO.
Abiola started to explore his interest in gaming while still studying at university. He created several games and in 2010 won the Samsung Developer Challenge in Nigeria in two categories.
He was also one of the lucky contestants to be chosen for the Imagine Cup in 2010 finals in Poland after he and other students from Obafemi Awolowo University emerged top in the national challenge in Nigeria.
These feats have inspired him in his latest project. He said: “We are just not looking at the African market alone, we are looking at the global market. The fact that we are creating African games doesn’t mean we are just looking at Africa. We want to export African talent abroad.”
Gamsole is one of the startups being funded and incubated by startup accelerator programme 88mph, in a bid to seek out more investors for the project.
Currently the company is developing a game “Traffic Madness” that depicts the road situation in most African countries, based in Lagos, Nigeria.
“If you are playing Need for Speed, the American car race game, once you get caught by the cops, that’s the end, but with Traffic Madness, you can bribe the cop,” Abiola told HumanIPO. The difference is actually to show a different kind of life from what is happening in developed world.
Another notable is Kazoo, which is a word game. The game can be played in indigenous African languages such as Swahili, Igbo and Yoruba and also in English.
Abiola cited the cost of setting up online startups in Nigeria because of the high cost of Internet connection and electricity. His chance to work on his startup here in Kenya is like “heaven”.
His games will be live on smartphone platforms such as Windows, Android and Blackberry.
Gamsole will present their work to investors and interested people at 88mph’s Demo Day on December 13, where they aim to get follow-up investment to continue their progress. More info on 88mph and Demo Day can be found at www.88mph.ac.