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"Video games represent a future for young people in Africa"



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During the tour
During the "PES" tournament (football game) organized by the Electronic and Video Festival in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, 24 November 2018. SIA KAMBOU / AFP

" I came to win ! ", launches Cheick Kamagate, who hopes to win the tournament PES a football game during the second Electronic Arts and Video Game Festival in Abidjan (FEJA), a promotion event for the video game industry in Africa.

This 19-year-old Ivory bachelor, devoted to his passion "Three to four hours a day", would like to buy gaming equipment with the bonus given to the winner of the tournament. "If I can, I will work in the video game as a developer, but rather in the United States", says this future computer science student.

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At present, Africa is only 1% of the global video game market, according to studies by global consultancy firms and Orange Telecom Operator. The countries weighing the most are Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa. But it is a promising outpost because of its demographic vitality, young people and its thirst for new technologies: half a billion less than 25 years, many people connected to the Internet and one billion mobile phone subscribers, half of whom play on a smartphone, report Serge Thiam, specialist consultant.

Players in a dozen countries

"Video game is a future for young people in Africa, it is a source of new jobs, a way to live their lives"says Sidick Bakayoko, creator of the Paradise Game Company in Ivorian and founder of FEJA.

The festival, organized in three days, on Friday, 23 – Sunday, November 25, is more than just a tour; Its purpose is to explain to young people how the video game industry works, what jobs this sector offers and how to train. To attract the audience, "players" (professional players) from ten continental countries were invited to participate alongside visitors from Ivorian to various adventure or e-sports tournaments.

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If envy and enthusiasm are real, financial means are missing in Africa, recognizes Sidick Bakayoko. Young people do not have the money to buy games and "The economic model remains to be found". No data are available on the total number of jobs currently represented by the mainland sector.

About 300 gambling studios exist, but there are micro-enterprises employing fewer than five people, says Bakayoko. With some success stories, such as the Kiro's studio in Cameroon, whose adventure game Aurion (where a fallen king tries to regain his throne) has broken out internationally.

Cultural amplitude

Also, several studios are starting to appear in Madagascar and the Central African Republic, according to Bakayoko, for which Africa has to capitalize on its cultural wealth to differentiate itself. Common point between Aurion. dahalo, developed by the Malagasy Lomay studio, or The Savannah boy, from the Togolese creator Pio Jules Tchedou: they highlight the cultures of their countries in a world dominated by Western or Asian games.

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A widespread commitment by players at FEJA. «I would like to create an adventure game inspired by Soundiata Keita», Suveran Mandingo and founder of the Mali Empire in the 13th centurye century, explains Elie Kouadio Kouamé, a 24-year-old computer graphics student and "gamer" at September

Belko Diallo, a 22-year-old Burkinabe who came to play in the tournament Street Fighter (fighting game), see further on. This dream medical student "To combine [sa discipline] and video games using certain game technology for medical examinations ".

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