Kenya’s mobile games company, Usiku Games, has free-rated its fees on mobile app games because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
As part of the move, Kenya’s mobile app gamers will not pay the usual Kshs 10 to access the games as the company has decided offer the games free until further notice.
According to Jay Shapiro, CEO of Usiku Games, making the games free will allow mobile app gamers to enjoy social distance policy that have been recommended by the governments and WHO as result of the fast spreading coronavirus:
“As a part of our commitment to the idea of #GamingForGood, Usiku Games are making all of our mobile games available for free to the public in Kenya during this Covid-19 outbreak. For one to access these games, one is usually expected to buy 1,000 digital coins (U-coins) which translate to Kshs 10. All you need is access to internet and a smartphone,” said Shapiro.
Shapiro says with closure of schools and offices, Kenyans will have an alternative to entertaining themselves away from social gatherings and games that require physical engagements.
“We know that many families are going to be stuck indoors for a while, with children home from school and offices closed. That will almost certainly lead to boredom and anxiety. Our made-in-Kenya games have all been designed to entertain via our smartphones,” he added.
Usiku Games expect to create a fan-base of 1 million subscribers during this lockdown. Each player usually plays an average of three games per day.
At the same time, Usiku Games follows government guidelines of promoting non-violent content that is educative, entertaining and informative. Most of the games draw from Kenyan Culture and are in Swahili language that is nationally accepted:
“We have created a safe environment that parents can feel comfortable sharing with their families as all our games are non-violent, and gender inclusive, with local heroes in local environments. We have designed our entire #GamingForGood as a counter-balance to the testosterone driven Sports Betting industry that is sucking $37 Billion annually out of the continent. Our goal is to create a fun, entertaining alternative that still provides that dopamine hit, while also making a positive change in the world,” he said.
Currently, Usiku Games runs over four games at every particular moment including Jam Noma – Drive your matatu out of traffic; Okoa Simba – Rescue the lion by matching pairs of animals; Mamma Mboga – Slice the fruits & Vegetables before the fall and Age of Asante – Match the tiles and find your Zen.
On the other hand, the company has introduced a new game dubbed Maasai Mkali – Mario & Luigi’s Maasai cousin. This is a fun 2D platformer game pits our Maasai warrior up against the crows, red bulls and witch doctors, as you try to gather as many cattle as you can.
Usiku Games is now employing over 20 youths since its inception in Kenya, with a majority coming from Kibera and Kangemi Slums. This include programmers, music artists among others.
“All of our games are made in Kenya, for Kenya. Every time you play one of our games, you are creating local jobs in the growing Kenyan game-development industry. Not just programmers, we also hire local rappers & songwriters for our soundtracks, character designers and animators, content writers, digital marketers, etc. By doing this our games reflect the local Kenyan culture, with local music, characters and environments.”
Usiku Games envisages promoting conservation, climate change and culture. The firm harnesses the power gamification to create joy for players, creating positive social impact in communities across Africa.
With more than 350 million connected smartphones already active in Africa (more than in all of the US, Canada and Mexico combined), Usiku Games believes that phones are the best way to reach today’s youth.