Mobile gaming across the world has become the most popular form of gaming by far – the ease of access that allows players to jump in and out of games at will without the risk of losing progress is very appealing, and the lack of additional cost of purchasing new hardware or purchasing the games individually is a big cost saver too. These same reasons have also allowed for mobile gaming to become a huge source of entertainment in emerging markets, and Nigeria is certainly becoming one of the fastest growing markets in mobile gaming.
Much of this success has been due to the huge rise in smartphone penetration throughout Nigeria over the past few years – with 36 million mobile connections in 2018, Nigeria had seen a 47% increase heading in to 2019 with over 53 million smartphone connections and expected to continue increasing at a similar rate for a total of 210M total connections by 2025. This availability brings an entirely new audience as the number of potential players continues to grow year on year.
The growth has also meant that some of the big network providers in the country have quickly jumped on board with the change too – Airtel has been operating its own games club for quite some time with MTN also recently partnering with a leading game developer in Gameloft for its own service. Alongside this there is little regulation that allows the gaming market to have a lot of freedom, although this is something that may change similar to the way the betting and gambling market did as the best betting site in Nigeria and other online gambling services require the correct licensing – although expanding this to cover the growing mobile market may take a little time.
With the growth and rate of change, including increased spending from new users and new investment opportunities, many are hoping that there will be a plan put in place to ensure not only safety but regulation adjustments to protect players. As seen in other parts of the world at the moment, there are concerns around some gaming mechanics such as loot boxes and microtransactions, and with Nigeria still being an emerging market there is a unique opportunity to both avoid many of these issues and have systems in place to protect players as they become available – it may help lead Nigeria to becoming one of the safest and most playable mobile gaming markets in the world as it learns from the mistakes of other countries, and notices the patterns of change that have negatively impacted many before they happen.