Ghana’s video gaming industry could by no means be described as a mature market. In 2018, its marketplace was valued at a meagre $18m. However, it’s expected to almost double in value by 2025, according to Statista, with projections of $33m on the table.
The same site forecasts annual revenues of $9.3m by 2023 from console gaming alone. Gaming has certainly experienced a global boom in recent years and this corner of West Africa is no different.
In fact, Ghana is home to one of the most successful video games developers in the whole of Africa. Leti Arts is a hugely successful video game studio, based in Accra. In 2017, Leti Arts was mentioned by IT News Africa as one of ten exciting African gaming start-ups to watch and founder, Eyram Tawia has even courted media attention from CNN. The strapline of Leti Arts is its desire to develop “meaningful African games” that resonate with popular culture.
Its flagship release in recent years has been Africa’s Legends. A game oozing in African culture, heritage and mythology, its protagonists are contemporary African superheroes that encounter all the 21st century issues that affect all African gamers in everyday life away from the computer screen. Its newest release, Africa’s Legends: Reawakening, is also available on smartphones for casual mobile gamers too. It incorporates clever SMS text gameplay that ensures it’s the first video game of its kind released in Africa. The setup allows gamers to play using text-based technology, no matter how powerful their device may be.
HTML5 technology is powering Ghana’s casual gaming scene
Casual mobile gaming has been on the rise in Ghana and other major African economies in recent years. In June 2020, Pulse Games opted to launch new gaming channels across its media platforms in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya. The channel has since contained hundreds, if not thousands, of hyper-casual mobile games, including supported media content.
All of these mobile games offer instant pick-up-and-play appeal, underpinned by HTML5 technology that has revolutionised many other areas of online gaming, including one area that remains something of a grey one in the Ghanaian market – iGaming.
Casino gaming becoming a key contributor to Ghana’s overall market
The Gaming Act of 2006 was one of the most transformational for the gambling sector in Ghana. Prior to this, all forms of gambling had been heavily restricted and, in many cases, prohibited. Only three years prior to this the country saw its first brick-and-mortar casino open its doors. Although the new Gaming Commission of Ghana was established for the land-based industry, the iGaming scene was left wholly unaddressed and it remains the case today. Subsequently multiple offshore operators now accept Ghana-based customers. There is a risk when Ghanaians play with unregulated, unlicensed offshore casinos online. It gives them little player security and reassurance over the fairness of their games. Ghana’s iGaming industry should look to follow the lead of countries like the UK which have widely regulated the marketplace.
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is the overarching regulator and licensor of online casinos that can serve the UK market. The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is another equally reputable iGaming regulator, given that Malta is considered the hub of Europe’s iGaming sector. There are few online casinos regulated by both the UKGC and MGA and 888casino is one of them. With over 20 years of expertise in the iGaming scene, players across the UK and Europe can have peace of mind when logging in to play at their exceptional casino online.
It is strange that Ghana’s government is prepared to strictly regulate its offline casino scene, as well as its state lotteries under the Lotteries Betting Act, and not their online counterparts. The Gaming Commission reiterated its stance in August 2016 by stating that it does not wish to regulate video games, providing no bets are placed within the games. Even if that was the case, it would be a surprise to see them regulate these kinds of video games if online casinos are deemed fair game.
Connectivity the key to driving Ghana’s online and mobile gaming adoption
One challenge for gamers in Ghana is the issue of high-speed connectivity. With online casino games, including live dealer games streamed in real time, fast reliable bandwidth is a prerequisite to enjoy playing at most online casinos in 2021. According to WorldBank.org, the percentage of Ghanaians using the internet in 2017 was just over 37%, but the country is working hard to improve its connectivity to deliver a fast and reliable service, suitable for gaming and all other forms of on-demand entertainment online.
Statista claims that internet penetration rates have since risen to 50% as of 2021. This is due in no small part to the country’s deployment of a new project dubbed “Fibre to the Community”, attempting to bring low-cost high-speed broadband to rural areas of Ghana. The project is going to be powered largely by aerial fibre technology – something that the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) deems to be a smarter and cheaper way to serve the country’s rural communities.
Thus far, more than 1.2 million Ghanaians have been given access to new high-speed connectivity, bringing affordable internet data and call rates to all homes. The GIFEC is also embarking on a Smart Community Project, in conjunction with telecoms firm Bluetown, delivering free community Wi-Fi services across rural communities. Underserved regions like Goaso, Asankrangwa and Asumura have all benefitted from the project, which should help gaming studios like Leti Arts to increase their footprint throughout Ghana
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