2016 Review of the Nigerian Game Industry

Image Credit: http://www.wsj.com/

Here are a few interesting things pertaining to the Nigerian Gaming Industry (excluding casino and lottery) as a whole that happened in the year 2016. Will update as new developments come along.

January
Gameloft opened office in Nigeria. Hold your horses, It's not a development studio (although I would have loved to see that) but a marketing/sales outlet instead. Seems the guys in France don't think we are good enough.


February
Genii Games got re-branded. Grateful they didn't select the one with the gamepad.

The Breeding by Gbrossoft was green-lit on steam in just 18 days.


April
Gameslab, parent company to Maliyo started a developers meetup and its been running almost consistently for a while. You can find out what happened in the last meet-ups here.


May
Silicon Spoon Studios, a new Indie on the block released their first game on Android titled The Square Bug's: Kyle's Berries. You can learn more about the Square Bugs here.


June
Gamsole finally released the long-awaited Gidi Run in collaboration with MTN. Like Jeez, the trailer was like a year old. Gameplay is similar to subway surfers but with a Lagos feel to it.

MTN joins Etisalat in distributing games made by local developers after their failed attempt with nextapps. So as of now, there are two main local game distribution channels in Nigeria; MTN Game+ and Etisalat Games.


August
App Rush met arkanoid and got a spin-off of its own in Burster Drones - Brick Breaker. Burster Drones is the second game developed by Deluxe Creation Studios.

Mind Dead, the first game developed by Gbrossoft was officially released on Steam for Windows and Mac.

Ovaplay released their second game titled Fer. Play as a Ferite (looked up but found no relatable definition) and try to avoid extinction


September
Found out we also make local board games in Nigeria at the Lagos Comic Con. Whoopee! Apparently, KayCee Games (now Nibcard) by Ogbuagu Kenechukwu have been making board games for a while now.

Also during the Lagos Comic Con, IGDA Nigeria hosted a gaming panel session with Maliyo (Hugo Obi) and Chopup (Zubair Abubakar). For all you Pacman fans, please forgive Hugo for saying Pacman is not a game; Chai! There is God o.


October
Maliyo also got to release their own 3D runner titled Aboki Run. You can run with 3 other characters that are friends with the Aboki dude. 

Another skilled based gaming company hits the streets. Considering the demise of Kuluya, Gamfari might be the only ones remaining in the space.


November
The first Unity certification exam for Africa was held in Nigeria at the Center 4 Tech facility. And 4 Nigerian developers got crowned Unity certified developers.

The West African Gaming Expo (WAGE) held it's 3rd edition at the Queens Park Event Center in Lagos and Unity Technologies partook in it.

Black Ring (comprising of Ali Akdogan and Iruo Umusu) launched a first playable of their buzzing game titled Throne of Gods. You can support the game to its completion here

Deluxe Creations Studios released their first multiplayer game Banzur.io - Tank Battle in collaboration with Theta Games. 

Tade Ajiboye of Gazuntype released the nostalgic water ring game titled Water bubbles on the google play store.


December
Another developer's meetup was launched by Center 4 Tech, but I feel this one might encompass Unity developers. Although I think all like-minded people are invited. I'm eager to see how this one pans out in the coming months. 

Abiola Olaniran (Founder of Gamsole) won the prize for technology category at 2016 The Future Awards Africa (TTFAA). Glad to see a comeback from last year for Abiola and also for Gamsole taking up one for Gaming in the technology sector.


Overall
A lot happened at the tail end of the year, but I'm hoping a lot more happens at the beginning of this year. The most obvious activity in 2016 was the volume of mobile releases, specifically on Android. I don't expect it to change this year, because Android has fewer restrictions, low-end developer fees and the local telco stores support the platform (unlike iOS). What I would love to see is if we can our hands on something different, like a VR or console release. That would be major! Anyways, the indie development sector is growing and quite a number of people are getting interested in development. The monthly meetups seem to be helping in that regards so I'm expecting one more to pop up this year (finger's crossed). We lost some (Kuluya bowed down), some made a comeback (Maliyo) while some pivoted (Sonbim merging with Lizzie Creations; citation needed). But so far, things are looking up.

So raise your glasses to the unexpected in 2017. Cheers!

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