As esports in Africa welcomes the new year with the hope of better things than the previous year, It will be nice to have a flashback of 2022.
2022 was a build-up from previous years, which created more awareness that esports exists in Africa. Covid being the real turning point, brought out more gamers, organizations, events, and speakers at international conferences.
A few notable activities both praiseworthy and questionable were:
Gamer X – Gamer X was a LAN event in Lagos, Nigeria hosted by Gamr, a Nigerian esports organization. The event assembled gamers from seven African countries to battle it out in Mortal Kombat, FIFA, Street Fighter, COD Mobile and PUBG Mobile. It was the first time in sub-sahara Africa that an event of that magnitude was organized.
Africa Gaming Cup – This event has a bitter taste to it. When announced with a $100,000 prize pool, it lit up the eyes of the ecosystem. The Africa gaming cup was supposed to be a hybrid event with qualifiers online and finale in Benin Republic. It was speculated that the Benin Republic Presidency were in support and french online gaming platform, Nicecactus were the official partners. As gamers rushed to take part due to the prize pool, the event started and was never concluded. There was no press release as to why the event came to a halt, the whole buzz just went silent.
African Esports Championships – In 2021, the Global Esports Federation adopted a regional African body called the African Esports Development Federation. Through that, the African Esports Championships (AEC) was birthed. In December 2022, the maiden event of the AEC was at the Region 5 Games in Lilongwe, Malawi hosted by the African Union Sports Council (AUSC). For the first time in Africa and globally, esports was recognized as a sporting event with its own medal ceremony, as opposed to a side or demonstration event which it was at the Asian games and Commonwealth.
Sahel Esports Championships – This event was a FIFA tournament that included players from Senegal, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Niger. Event had winners from the various countries compete in a grand finale in Senegal. Event had a prize pool of $2,000.
Global Esports Games & World Esports Games – Both events are yearly properties of the Global Esports Federation and International Esports Federation. 2022 IESF’s WEG was held in Bali, Indonesia while GEF’s GEG was in Istanbul, Turkey. Africa was somewhat represented, with some countries having membership in one or both bodies making it to the events. As to how Africa performed at these events, is a discussion for sometime later. All in all some will say Africa was represented.
Not to go on and on, other events did happen, to mention a few;
- Kenyan Pro-gamer, Queen Arrow joins Red Bull Gaming
- Kon10dr Esports Championship Season 2 goes online
- Nambia Esports hosted its year NamLAn event
- Global Esports Federation establish Afro-Arab Esport cooperation
- Africa Flies Her Colours At the Commonwealth Esports Games in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
As to what to expect in 2023 in African Esports, it is quite dicey as the region is not yet at a data driven stage yet. What one can forecast will be more of expectation judging from the previous years.
Here are our prediction for 2023;
- Africa will see a lot of mobile gaming penetration, especially with the rise of mobile usage and interesting games like Valorant, Rainbow 6, COD warzone and more all coming to mobile.
- More global tournaments will include African gamers and teams.
- Web3 gaming, though in an infant stage, will start growing in awareness.
- Some esports events will till be half baked, just like the Africa Gaming Cup. Sadly it is a common thing in African esports.
- Govenment through their sports ministry will start to adopt esports federations. The worry will be, will these federations be properly run.
Lets see how 2023 turns out.