Microsoft, through its Africa Transformation Office (ATO), has announced its planned Xbox Game Studios Game Camp Africa, a two-day conference to recognize and celebrate all game creators across more than 50 diverse countries and regions. The conference will run from July 15 – 16, 2023, and is now open for applications.
With soaring interest from African youth, the gaming industry is set to grow exponentially across the continent, as more people get connected to the internet. According to the 2021 GSMA mobile economy report, 303 million people, about 28% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa, are connected to mobile internet, a number that is set to grow to 474 million by 2025, offering many more opportunities for gaming and local creators to grow and develop in the market.
A report commissioned by Newzoo shows that the number of sub-Saharan gamers has more than doubled in the last five years and the region is projected to be the fastest-growing globally for both mobile gamers and people who pay for games. The State of the African Games Industry 2022 finds that South Africa has the highest saturation of gamers, with 24m people playing within a population of 59m (40%). In Ghana, 27% of people play games, with 23% in Nigeria, 22% in Kenya, and 13% in Ethiopia.
Game Camp is an initiative that unifies various Xbox initiatives under one umbrella where talent is celebrated, and game developers are empowered to pursue their dreams. While the camp, including presentations, panels, and workshops, is available online for all registered campers, Game Camp will host four in-person locations for campers during the two days in Cairo, Johannesburg, Lagos and Nairobi. These sites will offer viewing parties, on-site panel sessions and opportunities to meet with Microsoft and Xbox personnel. Furthermore, teams or individuals with games to pitch are encouraged to do so.
Now in its second year and 5th event, the Xbox Game Studios Game Camp program aims to empower creators across the world to realize their potential in the gaming industry through unique learning experiences from industry leaders.
“At Xbox, we’re on a mission to bring the joy and community of gaming to the world’s 3 billion gamers and we recognize that Africa is home to the largest population of youth in the world, many who love to play. In 2019 I attended the opening of our Africa Development Centre and met with tech leaders, educators, and developers from across the region to understand their vision for the future of game creation. Through the inaugural Xbox Game Studios Camp Africa, in collaboration with Microsoft’s Africa Transformation Office, we have an opportunity to continue to deepen our relationships with talented developers in region and help African games studios realize their vision and role in the global gaming industry,” said Phil Spencer, CEO, Gaming at Microsoft.
To participate, individuals must be of legal age, reside in any country on the African continent and be studying or working part or full-time in the field of software development, visual arts, 3D, music and audio, web design, narrative design, or professional project management. See the complete list of participation requirements at Xbox.com.
“At Microsoft, we are excited to enable African game developers and creators to build faster through access to tools and resources, and to help their games be discovered by players in Africa and around the world. We want to grow strong roots in this significant market for gaming and game development. The ATO and Xbox personnel will also combine efforts to identify game studios to invest in through our Startups acceleration program and venture capital investment partners. I’m looking forward to seeing what innovative concepts this Game Camp produces,” says Wael Elkabbany, Strategic Initiatives Lead for Microsoft CEMA.
Throughout Game Camp Africa from July 15 to 16 this year, participants will join remotely via Microsoft Teams or take part in person at four open-house locations in Cairo, Johannesburg, Lagos, and Nairobi. Xbox personnel and external program partners will facilitate workshops on various game development topics throughout the training. The two full days are themed “The Journey of a Game” and will offer multiple perspectives on the many times complex craft of game development. In addition, there will be significant online learning components to the camp, which will allow participants to engage with focused training modules on topics that align closely with their skills and interests, before and after the event.
Xbox Game Studios Game Camp started in 2014 in Sweden and was later shaped into a global program in the spring of 2020. To date over 900 campers have successfully completed the training, six startups and multiple industry hires both at Xbox and across the gaming world.