Dawit Abraham is an award-winning Game Developer and Android Application Engineer with a sound background in the fields of Native Android Application Development. He is also the CEO of Ethiopias sole game development studio, Qene Technologies – makers of Kukulu mobile game. In a brief profile, he highlights some of the challenges faced by local developers and imparts words of wisdom to the next generation of aspiring devs.
What would you say are some of the major challenges you face as a relatively solitary game studio in Ethiopia?
Primary challenge is the lack of a distribution channel that allows Ethiopians to purchase our games. Second challenge is the lack of talent suited for game development. It’s hard to find people dedicated to build a career in an industry that doesn’t yet fully exist. Third challenge is the lack of funding for the unpopular African Gaming Industry. Fourth challenge is the hardship of the business environment for bringing in small foreign investment into the country
You’re part of a growing breed of developers and studios adopting a social entrepreneurship mindset. What does that say about the state of the industry in the region – (as in developers and creators supporting and sharing together)?
In my opinion, the African gaming industry is still dormant and unexplored. It’s hard to find African game studios that have been a huge success. But the rise of indie developers in the continent is a good sign that collaboration will become more and more possible.
What sort of values do you look for in a creative partner and who are the developers and studios you admire for pushing the envelope across the continent?
We are always actively looking out for the ambitious ones, those who dare to dream big! I have thus far admired the works of Kiro’o Games (Cameroon), Ant Hill Studio (Nigeria), and Thoopid (South Africa). It’s wonderful to see products that wow the world with a tag “Made in Africa”!
What areas of the scene could be further developed?
Distribution platforms that allow game devs to sell the content across the content would have a great impact on the industry. On top of that, bringing in investment and grants into the industry would help it stand on its feet. For that to happen, there needs to be a good understanding of the socio economic impact of art and cultural development amongst the big players with the big money.
Who are the African developers you look to for inspiration?
Kiro’o Games from Cameroon and Cape Town based Thoopid.
If you could impart a word of wisdom to new entrants to the industry, what would you say?
Do it for the love of the journey. Expect extreme hardship and dozens of failures. Don’t get side tracked by other quicker ways to make money. If you’re after quick money, find a job. And don’t forget, this is a BILLION dollar industry waiting to be discovered. And that Art can have a great impact on shaping generations. Creating heroes that look, talk and act like Africans would create kids who are proud to be African. Telling our history, legends, and fairy tails would brand our continent more successfully than anything else. (Remember that Hollywood is the biggest reason why many wish they were American!). If anything, this journey is one great noble cause!
What’s next for Qene Technologies?
Building more games that we believe should exist in the world. We are a group of African creatives, so our games would most likely look and feel African. And we’ll try to tackle the big distribution problem in Africa by building a Pan-African game store.