When it comes to video games, Asia and North America are generally the market leaders. Countries like Japan, South Korea, Canada, and the US are the big players, and though others like India and China are stepping up to the plate, one continent, in particular, hasn’t had much to with video games – Africa.
Change is possible
That may be about to change in a big way. Central Africa’s Cameroon is trying to make it big – or at least one game studio there is. Founded in 2013, Kiro’o Games started out small but is now growing to be the biggest and first major games studio on the continent.
Instead of competing with what many other studios around the world already do, Kiro’o focuses on African mythology as a theme – instead of Hollywood, they make authentic local stories come to life. One such example is the company’s fantasy RPG Aurion: The Legacy of the Kori-Odan.
Gaming and education
Last year in June, the company went one step further and launched an online educational platform called Rebuntu. It aims to train young Cameroonians in the ways of not just video game creation but real-life business ventures in general.
“Our generation has the duty to bring something really new that will finally generate growth,” said Olivier Madiba, founder, and chief executive officer of Kiro’o. Subscribers to the new service pay the equivalent of $17.55 to get access to a training manual featuring cartoons as well as advice on project work.
This includes tips on how to recognize a good project, how to hire the right staff and how to secure investor funding. Subscribers can also seek online or in-person mentoring with the Kiro’o team if they so choose – that’s a pretty big opportunity from a country that has hardly been on the map when it comes to the virtual world.
Location strategy helps
Cameroon is ideally situated for Kiro’o’s success – while the general region is notoriously unstable, the country itself is comparatively well-off and struggles with one major issue in particular: Extremely high youth unemployment. Young people with a good education are forced to accept farm work or taxi driving due to lack of opportunity and infrastructure.
Kiro’o is trying to show people that there is another way: Creating your own work. This is doubly impressive given that the company and its team succeeded despite lack of formal specialized training in the country. The company developed its own model to raise financing and then offered their training programme to share their strategies.
Joining forces for more impact
That may seem counter-intuitive in the ever-competitive world of marketing and business, but it isn’t really – because of Cameroon’s disadvantaged position, more big players in business would actually be quite beneficial for everyone involved.
“We realized we can’t evolve alone,” Madiba said. “We want to create an ecosystem where we’ll have many startups with different services which would have an impact on the Cameroonian economy, and wider in Africa.”
In over a year, some 1000 Cameroonians have signed up for this service so more change may be on the horizon – we are indeed glad it was all kicked off by a games studio!
YouTube: Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan – The awakening