By Joseph-Albert Kuuire
On Friday, August 30th, MTN hosted Ghana’s first-ever Gaming Conference at the Accra Digital Centre.
The aim of the conference was to help build a platform for stakeholders in Ghana’s gaming industry where programmers, artists, game designers, audio professionals, and business decision-makers to collaborate and exchange ideas in the development of interactive games and experiences to shape the future of the industry in Ghana.
Why are video games so important now and in the coming years? The gaming industry as a whole is growing astronomically. According to a forecast, the gaming industry is poised to generate about $152 Billion in 2019 alone.
eSports competitions, where gamers play against each other competitively for cash prizes is also a growing trend in the gaming industry.
Console games such as Xbox and Playstation as well as mobile games on smartphones have all contributed to this growing industry.
With the potential to get young people and adults into a growing industry, the MTN Gaming Conference looked like the perfect opportunity to garner more interest in gaming.
Overview Of The Conference
The conference was opened up with a welcoming message from Noel Kojo-Ganson, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of MTN Ghana.
There was also a keynote address from Isaiah “Triforce” Johnson, CEO of Empire Arcadia, an esports professional gaming team.
Break Out Sessions
After the keynote addresses, there were two breakout sessions. One session was lead by Eyram Tawia, CEO Of Leti Arts, who lead a discussion on the “Role Of Art in Video Games.”
The second session was lead by Johana Riquier, who lead a discussion about increasing the participation in the gaming community in Ghana.
After the breakout session, there was a panel discussion which featured all the guest speakers for a general discussion about the gaming industry in Ghana and how gaming development can help Africa.
During the panel discussion, there was a surprise guest who called in from China to talk about his experience in the gaming industry and offer advice on how best to grow the industry in Ghana.
The guest was none other than Peter Vesterbacka , the”Mighty Eagle” and Finnish developer for Angry Birds from Rovio. (Bio)
Four Takeaways From The MTN Gaming Conference
Here four key takeaways that we got from the MTN Gaming Conference:
1. Gaming Community In Africa Is Growing
The gaming community and industry in Africa is definitely growing with Ghana’s own Leti Arts being front and center. Accompanying Leti Arts are Kiro’o Games (Cameroon), Ludique Works (Kenya), Venture Lift Africa (Kenya), and Online Worlds Ent.
2. Esports In Ghana Is Slowly Growing
eSports is a global phenomenon and the sport is slowing growing in Ghana. There are esports groups like Antrix Gaming, Gasbros Gaming and others who help to organise competitive gaming events in the community.
3. There Is Lots Of Money To Be Made In (Mobile) Gaming In Africa
The use of smartphones in Africa is growing and more and more users are playing games on these devices. This opens up the potential for local gaming developers to create local games for these users and monetize.
4. There’s A Blueprint For Growing The Gaming Industry In Ghana
During his presentation, Eric Elders mentioned how in Latin America is growing its gaming community by forming associations and getting support from the government.
He mentioned how it was a great blueprint which Ghana and Africa countries could emulate to grow its own gaming community.
The MTN Gaming Conference was a great first inaugural conference for an industry that is slowly picking up steam in Ghana. It definitely needs to be paid more attention to and more support for the local industry would be helpful in growing it to new heights.
More support in the form of sponsorships need to be given local esports teams to represent Ghana in global competitions. Game Design and Development are also fields which could be pushed forward with more support in schools and hubs.
If there is a 2nd edition next year, it would definitely be worthwhile to attend and see how far the gaming industry in Ghana would have grown.