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Why Africa’s mobile games should become powerful marketing tools #MWA2015

Even though the opportunities for them are quite vast and numerous, mobile game companies in most parts of Africa are still trying to crack the market with varying degrees of success.

In a fireside chat at Mobile West Africa 2015 with Zubair Abubakar, the Nigerian game developer and co-founder of ChopUp admitted that no game company in Africa is at the same level of monetisation as their counterparts such as King’s Candy Crush which makes more than US$1-million weekly from in-app sales alone. This is while the local industry continues to grow in terms of number of companies, games and quality.

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For now, he said, the major forms of monetisation in Africa are via advertising and rolling out games for corporate companies.

But deploying mobile games is still unpopular among the majority of companies in Africa due to several challenges and limitations. If mobile game companies on the continent could adequately innovate and solve these problems, they could become more attractive to corporate companies who will be more open to deploy mobile games as part of their marketing strategies.

Speaking to Memeburn on the sidelines of Mobile Marketing West Africa Focus Day held on Monday in Lagos, Nigeria, the senior digital manager for Nigerian Breweries Tomiwa Aladekomo, said for a company that sells age-restricted products such as alcohol, it is bound by law to target users that are above 18 years.

“So, how do you make sure only users that are above the age of consent are the only ones that are downloading and playing the game?” he asked.

When mobile game developers have been able to overcome the targeting barrier, they also have to come up with innovative opportunities for corporate companies to leverage within the games. In Nigeria and elsewhere, the words that companies would like to hear include “consumer engagement” and ROI.

For consumer engagement, the companies are interested in tools that will allow the consumer to engage with the company directly and not be an afterthought or mere sponsor of a gaming experience. They want it such that only their targeted customers would be ones playing the games. They also want an impressive level of engagement that endears new customers to their products instead of just playing games for fun.

Therefore, Tomiwa Aladekomo said much emphasis should be placed on how users could be made to engage more with the company and how they to translate the game into a strong marketing tool for the brand.

“Some game developers are looking at placing billboards of the companies in their games. But they need to do more and come up with more options,” he said.

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