Nigerian online gaming poised for economic expansion
For many people, gaming is a hobby more than anything else. Over time, though, as millions of people join a competitive circuit, this hobby can grow into a real force and even a profession. While representation in this field has been lacking in Nigeria up until now, recent and coming developments have laid the path of possible evolution.
This is important not just for raising the international digital profile of our nation but also for the potential economic impact which it could bring to businesses all over the country. In the modern state of gaming in Nigeria, the focus has usually been on smaller web-based entries such as online casino games. With only minor bandwidth requirements compared to their peers in other gaming genres, it is perhaps no surprise that the likes of slots, roulette, and blackjack are so often the most popular. When internet gaming becomes a reality, these classic casino games tend to illustrate that path, showing viability for other forms of digital entertainment.
On a more traditional level, this could lead to a vaster adoption of friendly and competitive gaming. Console and PC games like these tend to be much larger downloads than their iGaming counterparts, and as such are heavily reliant on improvements on internet connectivity and infrastructure.
As of 2019, around 113.3 million people in Nigeria have internet access – around 59%. According to current trends, this number is likely to expand to 187.8 million in 2023 – about 98%. A far greater number of potential customers mean a much more appealing market for software publishers and hardware developers. This market expansion aids in driving gaming interaction, both in the casual and professional spheres.
Following this development are commercial opportunities, as afforded by the different methods of engagement.
Source: “PC Bangs” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by Raymond June
On the most common level, there is the potential of gaming dedicated internet cafes. In many countries, such as their home in Korea, internet cafes have grown to become an immense source of income for local communities. Allowing players of all ages to compete without the need for their own expensive equipment, internet and gaming cafes have become a worldwide phenomenon; and we could see the same at home.
At a higher tier, such a growth of gaming might lead to competitive viability on a global level through eSports. At the very least, this could again gain traction through the creation of local supporting infrastructure, as host to larger regional or international tournaments.
Source: “Esports” (CC BY 2.0) by a.canvas.of.light
It’s not just the players and the organisers who could stand to benefit from this maturity either. Broadcasters and sponsors could see similar attention through involvement in this space, and such attention is only predicted to improve as interest in online gaming continues to develop.
The direct benefits of such an industry taking hold in Nigeria are difficult to quantify. Even so, there are overarching patterns which, globally, have begun to be revealed. Video games are now worth more annually than movies and music combined, and capitalising on this fact is a sure-fire method for future economic success.
It might take a few years, but you can bet that sometime soon you’ll be seeing the effects within your community.