Technology is on the rise in Nigeria, with devices – particularly smartphones – becoming integral to everyday life. Alongside the rapid adoption of technologies has, almost inevitably, been a surge in people who enjoy digital forms of gaming.
Ranging from little app puzzlers to major gaming competitions, more and more people are discovering the world of gaming through many different avenues.
Now, there are three key sectors of the complete gaming industry in Nigeria, all of which offer a different form of gaming and different levels of accessibility. Accessibility is proving to be the deciding factor behind a platform’s popularity in the ever-evolving gaming space of the country, but as technology develops, we may see some changes to which platforms stand as the most popular.
For now, we’re going to be digging into Nigeria’s current gaming space, exploring how the most popular games function, and why they’ve become so popular.
Mobile gaming continues to dominate
Thanks to how widely available, affordable, and accessible mobile devices have become – alongside increasingly user-friendly data plans – mobiles have become the dominant gaming platform in Nigeria.
In fact, on a scale of global gaming, mobile games make up the largest segment of total revenue each year. In Nigeria, 83 percent of the population has a mobile phone connection, while internet penetration still only sits at 42 percent across the 203.6 million population, according to the latest global internet access data report.
As a result, mobiles have become the gateway to gaming, with dedicated mobile app games becoming the most popular way to enjoy the entertainment medium. The local mobile gaming industry is already establishing itself, with several domestic companies creating games specifically for the Nigerian audience. Revenues from the domestic games industry are expected to rise at an annual rate of 16 percent through to 2022, with mobile creations being the largest segment of the market.
However, domestic creations like Monkey Post, Jagun: Clash of Kingdoms, and Gidi Run have some tough competition from international smash-hit games like the ever-popular Candy Crush Saga. The key to the success of the likes of Candy Crush Saga, in just about all territories, is the fact that it’s easy to play, colorful, and free. The King-made game makes its money through in-app purchases, which are encouraged by timed paywalls that slow game progression, with the microtransactions seemingly worthwhile, compared to the wait time.
These freemium tactics are why mobile gaming rakes in revenues across the world. While Nigerian players are less inclined than in other jurisdictions to make in-app purchases, there are enough to encourage other game developers to follow the strategy and create more Nigeria-specific games that appeal to the market.
iGaming’s cross-platform accessibility bolstering its audience
Perhaps the oldest form of gaming in the world is that of casino gaming. From the creation of table and card games, like blackjack and roulette, all the way to electronic slot machines, casino gaming has been able to stand the test of time because the games are simple, enjoyable, varied. While there are casinos in major Nigerian cities, such as Lagos, the form of gaming has really started to take off in the country now that it has fully embraced the digital space.
Being accessible through computers, tablets, and smartphones has been key to the rise of iGaming in Nigeria, but – as is always the case in gaming – players won’t use a platform unless it has appealing games. Unlike in land-based casinos, game developers have a lot more creative license online, which has led to them leaning into the most popular form of online casino gaming, slots, to diversify the space a great deal. Now, you’ll see that the online slots selection in Nigeria is incredibly vast and varied, with a theme that appeals to just about anyone.
However, the games driving the sector of gaming in the country perhaps aren’t the flashiest or aesthetically appealing games. As Nigeria’s mobile population is very tech-savvy, many have uncovered that the key to online slot gaming is the RTP and not the theme, with the games boasting the highest return to player percentages becoming the most popular. The likes of Mega Joker (99% RTP), 1429 Uncharted Seas (98.5% RTP), Jokerizer (98% RTP), and Wolfpack Pays (97.5% RTP) continue to see an increase in recurrent players in Nigeria because they give the best payouts faster.
Growing console, PC, and competitive gaming
Due to the high price points and the currently lacking broadband infrastructure, console and PC gaming have, historically, struggled to gain mass appeal across Nigeria. However, the growing world of eSports is helping to make these gaming platforms be much more appealing to would-be players. Globally, eSports is still a very young industry, and yet it has already reached $1 billion in revenue, with audience figures exceeding 433 million worldwide.
Nigerian innovators have been keen on establishing eSports in the country both as a spectator sport and a competitive form of gaming which brings in more players. In 2016, the African Gaming League was established, which works as an online matchmaker that also features worldwide challenges and competitive tournaments. Earlier this year, the newly-founded Esports Nigeria established the Nigerian Esports League as the official league the eSports organization.
Esports Nigeria seeks to develop and cultivate gaming communities across the country by establishing a wide range of gaming leagues with registered teams. Knowing the accessibility available in the country, the Nigerian Esports League is comprised of mobile and console titles. PUBG Mobile, COD Mobile, Brawl Stars, 8 Ball Pool, and Clash Royale tournaments are in place, as are FIFA, Fortnite, Apex Legends, Mortal Kombat, League of Legends, Tekken, and Street Fighter tournaments for console gamers.
It’s an exciting time to be a lover of games in Nigeria, with the range of mobile app games, mobile browser casino games, and eSports tournaments being established to create a vibrant gaming scene.