Whilst the talent and an insatiable drive to create and develop video game properties has never been in question across the continent. The scarcity of resources as well as accessible ways of monetizing ones creations have proved more than a stumbling block for most purveyors of games. Bonako Games Arena (BGA) hopes to address some of those challenges whilst being a home for African developed gaming content.
Billed as the first African gaming platform, Bonako Games Arena is the brain child of a talented team made up of made up of Cape Verdeans, a Nigerian as well as a Mozambican native. They include the founders (Olugbenga Adesida and Jose Brito) as well as creative director Ivandro Ribeiro. Technical team members include Wylson Lopes (Illustrator), Esmael Varela (3D), Aluzio Correia (AI), Fredooilson Mendes (Unity developer), Joselito Coutinho (Web Developer), Helton Cabral (Android Developer), Dani Borges (Android), Alberto Santos (iOS), Evandro Vaz (API), and Eliza Lopes (Community Developer).
Founded in 2012, the Cape Verde, their first games were Ayogame (a widely played African board game also known as Awale, Ayo); Africa Racing (a car racing game in which the scenarios feature parts of Praia, the capital city of Cabo Verde. The team have since followed these up by publishing about ten games and are now also developing casual web games. they currently have ten of these in beta testing.
The inspiration for Bonako Games Arena came about as they saw the challenge first hand of trying to generate revenue from their games. It’s an experience largely shared by a lot of African developers. Companies in many countries, like in Cape Verde, are not able to monetize their games on Google Play simply because Google does not allow firms from many African countries to charge for their products. While it is easier to charge for ones games on Apple’s App Store the primary market for African game developers is Africa and most Africans do not have bank accounts. Those that do have bank accounts have no credit cards which is the preferred transitionary tool of the two dominant platforms.
We saw this as a death sentence and our BGA is an attempt to respond to this challenge for Africa game developers. So, BGA will be a social media platform and market where producers and gamers.
They are now in talks with a number of developers producers in Africa and to engage them to use the platform. They are also working on implementing a few payment gateways so that users can have options for payments that include visa, debit cards, mobile money and airtime from mobile operators. They are also working on developing partnerships with mobile operators.
BGA is still in the early stages and has a focus on mobiles games for now. However, the next iteration of BGA due out next year will also include web games. They also intend to add quite a few exciting functionalities for the platform which will be revealed at the appropriate times.
Bonako Games Arena can be downloaded from Google Play.