Nigerian gaming industry continues to evolve in 2020

April 15, 2020
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All across the globe, gaming has become one of the most dominant and lucrative industries of the 21st century. Estimated to be worth over $130 billion (USD), its growth has been accelerated by the rapid development and adoption of advanced technology. The era that we live in means that technology has become integral to daily life, and gaming is now outperforming the more traditional forms of entertainment such as television.

gaming industryNigeria, much like countries in Europe and the Far East, has fully embraced technology and its accompanying digital space. The proliferation of connected devices across the country has led to extensive adoption of the technology, and there are people from all demographics who are enjoying digital gaming in its various forms.

The Nigerian eSports scene in 2020

eSports, which is basically professional level video gaming, could still be considered an emerging industry, having broken into the mainstream during the latter half of the previous decade. However, the takeup has already been huge – global audiences of over 430 million tune in for world championship events, and the industry has already generated over $1 billion in revenue. And in Nigeria, innovators in the country have been champions of this gaming market since its early days.

In 2015, local gaming fans and entrepreneurs established the African Gaming League in the country and held its inaugural tournament across 4 Nigerian cities. With the aim of being the “African leader in eSports”, the AGL has now expanded to feature global tournaments and eSports challenges.

In the years since then, enthusiasm for competitive video gaming led to the development of Esports Nigeria, which established the Nigerian Esports League as its official professional league. The league competes in both mobile and console tournaments for games including Mortal Kombat, League of Legends, FIFA, Fortnite, PUBG Mobile, Clash Royale and Brawl Stars – the appetite for competitive gaming is huge.

More recently and following the release of the global hit Call of Duty: Mobile, another Nigerian eSports League, the LXG (League of Extraordinary Gamers) has begun recruiting new players to form its Call of Duty Mobile team. Although mobile gamers across the world have held local CoD Mobile competitions and tournaments, there’s yet to be a national eSports event for the title. Could Nigeria be the first country to establish an African pro-level tournament? It’s entirely possible.

Nigeria’s current iGaming space 

Closely related to eSports, iGaming – which encompasses professional online poker tournaments as well as real money casino games and sports betting – has also gained a stronghold in Nigeria. As more land based casinos have opened up across the country, the interest in real money gaming has piqued, and tech-savvy Nigerians have been keen to get involved in this instantly accessible discipline.

Once again, it’s the development of technology that’s been the key to the emergence of iGaming in Nigeria, namely powerful but affordable tablets, smartphones and computers. However, just as audiences in other emerging markets like the US are demanding innovative variations on traditional casino and poker games, the Nigerian iGaming audience wants to be entertained.

The vast numbers of online platforms available mean that in 2020, the local iGaming audience is a lot more discerning. Now that the industry has established itself properly in the country, players are seeking more than the novelty factor. This means that it will be the platforms that pack a punch creatively while also delivering high RTP (return to player) percentages in their games that will dominate and shape the industry for the rest of the year.

Mobile gaming is a massive trend

Easily the fastest growing segment of the global gaming industry, mobile gaming is as much a phenomenon in Nigeria as it is on a global scale. Smartphones and tablets are the most widely available and affordable connected devices; 83% of the population in Nigeria has a mobile phone connection, compared to just 42% who have a land based internet connection. And whilst mobiles are used to do everything from checking work emails to streaming content, it’s gaming apps that see the most widespread use.

The local mobile gaming market is expected to undergo some serious developments over the next few years, with domestic companies rising at an annual rate of around 16% year on year until 2022. Currently, domestic apps like Jagun: Clash of Kingdoms, Gidi Run, and Monkey Post, which have been created specifically for Nigerian audiences, are as popular as international hits like Candy Crush Saga. Their appeal? They all follow the freemium model of being free to download and play, but encourage progression through micro-transactions.

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