Liquid Telecom Kenya has partnered with the Nairobi Comic Convention (Naiccon) to host Africa’s first international multi player video game tournament at the Sarit Centre in Nairobi.
A total of 16 PC and console gaming teams from Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya are expected to participate in the tournament scheduled for this weekend on July 29 – 30, 2017. The event will also bring together over 3500 creative minds in the animation, gaming and comic book industries.
Liquid Telecom Kenya will provide 200Mbps of uninterrupted internet supply to enable streaming on different sites within the event and host a LAN Party on the same connectivity. The company has also sponsored national gaming teams from Uganda and Rwanda for the championship.
“PC gaming is not just be a source of entertainment but also a highly educational competitive sport, a driver of internet infrastructure development, and a catalyst for local content generation,” Ben Roberts, Liquid Telecom’s Chief Technology and Innovation Officer.
“This will serve as a powerful demonstration of East Africa’s rapidly developing regional internet infrastructure landscape, as the online gaming servers to be used for the tournament will be hosted in Uganda by Liquid Telecom.”
Liquid Telecom has sponsored a Ugandan gaming community, GameNights, for the past four years.
Kyle Spencer patron of GamersNights said: “The partnership with Liquid Telecom has not only given us first class connectivity and server hosting, but we have worked together on reducing network delay across the African continent and seen the numbers of international players participating in our community steadily increase.”
The tournament, at Naiccon’s 5th annual event, reflects significant growth in the regional technology ecosystem and would not have been possible to achieve without each country having established gaming communities that require accessible hardware and telecommunications services.
Globally, the gaming industry is emerging as a spectator sport with video gaming sites earning millions monthly. E-Sports and streaming gameplay are becoming the new playground for gamers, engaging more viewers and players all the time, with research showing that 75% of gamers now know of e-sports and half of this group watch it on a weekly basis.
It is estimated that 2.2 billion gamers will spawn US $108.9 billion in game revenues worldwide in 2017, a 7.8% increase from the previous year, according to the latest Global Games Market Report.
Digital game revenues alone will count for 87% of the global market, with mobile being the most lucrative segment: smartphone and tablet gaming is growing 19% year on year to US $46.1 billion, claiming 42% of the market.
In Kenya, the biggest drive behind the growth in gaming has been the deployment of high-speed internet infrastructure, which allows gamers to watch and compete with each other across the country and over continental borders. The rise of gaming is also creating jobs in Kenya, as youth move into roles as game designers, animators, audio engineers, and technical support specialists.
The 2017 multi-player video game tournament at Sarit Centre is expected to draw attendees across all age brackets, many of whom dress as their favourite super heroes and villains, in a celebration that has become a global phenomenon at comic and gaming conventions. For participating teams, winners of will be awarded cash prizes worth US $1,500.
Naiccon, founded in 2014, held the country’s first successful tournament last year with eight teams on console. The aim of the convention is to act as a platform that brings together consumers and content creators in one place, inspiring growth through collaborations, partnerships, mentorships and workshops.
Gamers Nights hosts servers in Uganda which allow anyone with a computer and Internet access to play games with other people in the African region. While the primary purpose is to have fun, players indirectly learn valuable skills such as leadership, event management, computer networking, graphic design, and systems administration. Further, internet gaming generates demand for network infrastructure improvements at both the local and regional level.
Gamers Nights is supported by the players and donations from the technology community. The primary sponsor, Liquid Telecom, donated a US $20,000 server, rack-space, uncapped access to their international backbone network, and low latency access to every network they interconnect with in Africa. Past sponsors include the S7 Project, Smile Telecom, Orange Telecom, Outbox, and Hive Colab.