Xbox Game Camp returns to Africa for the second year running

Graphic design of an Xbox controller, including the title Game Camp Africa

Applications for the conference are now open, coinciding with the start of GITEX Africa

Microsoft, through its Africa Transformation Office (ATO), has announced the second edition of Xbox Game Camp in Africa with a view to bolstering local developer talent and fast-tracking the growth of the continent’s gaming industry. The two-day online conference, scheduled for 16th -17th July, will also include in-person events in Johannesburg, Nairobi, and Casablanca.

Africa is expected to become one of the fastest-growing gaming markets in the world, presenting a wealth of business and employment opportunities for the continent’s increasing young population. In fact, the gaming industry in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is projected to reach $1 billion in revenue for the first time in 2024. Indeed, the region’s video game market has shown promising growth over the past few years, bucking the downward trend in global video game activity. In 2022, games sold in the region produced more than $862 million in revenue, representing an 8.7 percent increase year over year.

Home to the youngest population in the world, Africa’s wealth of emerging talent is expected to help drive continued momentum in game development, particularly as smartphone ownership is expected to reach 88 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2030.

However, before this opportunity can be realised, there are significant hurdles to overcome. According to the Africa Games Developer Survey, around 63 percent of local game developers have five years of development experience or less. At the same time, African gaming professionals struggle to develop financially viable careers, with just 19 percent ever having secured external investment for any of their past projects.

The struggle for African developers to monetise gaming is also exacerbated by a major lack of awareness around the availability of games in Africa. In fact, according to GeoPoll’s Gaming in Africa 2024 Report, 56 percent of local gamers are completely unaware that games are developed in Africa.

To help aspiring young creators overcome these challenges and tap into the potential of Africa’s burgeoning gaming market, Game Camp aims to alleviate the financial burden that comes with video game development education by offering the conference free of charge to participants.

In fact, Microsoft is aiming to build on the considerable progress made by the first edition of Game Camp Africa, which was attended by 600 game developers across the continent.

Off the back of the conference, multiple African-based studios signed up for Microsoft Founders Hub, with local creators such as Kunta Content, the first African Minecraft Marketplace developer, reaching new levels of success. The Nairobi developer has secured a partnership with the ID@Xbox Developer Acceleration Program to release an Xbox console version of their action game Hiru, which is based on African lore. International video game developers such as 343 Industries also acknowledged the innovative capabilities of local talent in Africa. The studio aims to tap into this potential to create a game development ecosystem with the capacity to contribute meaningfully to AAA game development via outsourcing, co-development, and other potential opportunities.

Now in its second year, Game Camp Africa will again feature workshops on various game development topics, providing young talent with the opportunity to learn from industry leaders. For the first time, participants will also have the opportunity to present gaming and business ideas to a panel of experts who will then provide them with focused mentorship and coaching.

Using online learning resources, developers can take part remotely via Microsoft Teams as well as through three open-house locations across Africa, including Johannesburg, Nairobi, and Casablanca. These online resources include targeted training modules that closely match developers’ individual skills and interests. What’s more, participants can engage with these modules both before and after the event.

“There is extraordinary talent residing across the continent. However, many individuals lack access to the basic tools and resources needed to transform their expertise into successful ventures. To realise the vast potential presented by gaming, we must begin by narrowing the opportunity divide and levelling the playing field. We believe that by investing in initiatives such as Xbox Game Camp, we can help grow thriving gaming ecosystems by tapping into the amazing talent that has the potential to contribute positively to the broader economy,” says Lillian Barnard, President of Microsoft Africa.

To participate, individuals must be of legal age, reside in any country on the African continent and be studying or working part or full-time in the field of software development, visual arts, 3D, music and audio, web design, narrative design, or professional project management.

For further information on how to apply, visit the official site before applications close on 15 June 2024.

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