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Gaming Industry in Nigeria : Is Maliyo Games Africa’s Zynga?

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You can find anything in Nigeria. This is a phrase commonly used by locals from Lagos to Port Harcourt, Enugu to Sokoto.  What they are basically saying is, whatever you can think up, there is someone, somewhere in Nigeria already doing it!  In a land of 140 Million plus people, this should come as no surprise.  A nation best known in the western world for those pesky internet scams, is actually actually one of Africa’s largest tech Hubs. Innovation moves at a rapid pace, and ever since the political coups of the 80s stopped plaguing the continent.  African countries have been speeding towards a technological revolution.  Despite the lack of financing and the infrastructural pitfalls, African entrepreneurs have been able to innovate.  We already told you about Jumia and Konga.  Now let us introduce you to Maliyo Games. Maliyo is a gaming firm with a focus on African lifestyle and stories.  Think of them as the Zynga for Nigeria.

On the company website the philosophy reads as follows:  “to share the experiences of everyday Africans with a global audience through games. Our narratives, characters, environments and sounds help us achieve this”

With games like Okada Ride, Aboki and Mosquito Smasher, they are doing exactly that. They have even poked fun at the recent kidnapping trend in the country with a new game appropriately named….you guessed it “kidnapped” 🙂 Maliyo Games currently generates revenue through sponsorship and advertising.  If they continue along with the Zynga model they may eventually be able to generate revenue through a pay to play strategy.

The relevance of the gaming industry growth in Africa should not be underestimated.  Traditionally, it has always been believed that the only businesses worth the investment in Africa, are large scale government assisted projects: Telecommunication, construction, banking etc.  Foreign investments rarely went towards leisure and entertainment. Surprising because entertainment and leisure seem to be recession proof in Nigeria.  Subsequently, innovative young entrepreneurs have taken it upon themselves to build the entertainment industry all alone and without government backing.  The same revolution happened in the music industry over a decade ago, and today Nigerian artist can be seen performing alongside american artist at the Grammy’s.

Today, the same drive exhibited by the musicians 10 years ago is can be seen by a new crop of African developers like the people found at Moliya Games.  African developers, creating African games, that show African people and culture.  The importance of these images cannot be overstated.  Much like the movie and Music industry.  When you have content that focuses on local issues, it inspires the youth to believe they can do the same thing.  So the future looks bright for African developers, and Smile and Mobile give Maliyo Games two thumbs up………………………………………………..Stay Mobile!

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