The following is a guest contribution from Jiwe Studio – a Kenyan based development studio with distribution ambitions.

The author Robert Mckee once said storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world. We at Jiwe are dedicated to creating the most unique African story-driven games. Jiwe means rock in Swahili. The rock has many cultural narratives in Africa. We have built with rocks, played games with rocks and fought with rocks across all cultures on the continent!

The rock represents our creativity, toughness, uniqueness and resilience. We are a video game development studio, publisher and esports organization founded by Max Musau. We are based in Nairobi and are supported by Africa’s Talking and many other partners.

At the studio [] we are a team of 16 young, motivated, passionate African developers, visual artists, gamers and enthusiasts who love making and playing games. 

As the Art team lead Ken Kyalo has a great background in 3D art and in making very realistic characters and environs. He used his skills to make USONI part 1 which had both elements of 2D and 3D art (2.5D) and now USONI part 2 deeper and 3D like.

Telvin Njoroge’s background is in deep emotional driven stories. In USONI as the Lead Game Developer, Telvin used these skills to give significant enhancements to the character’s personality in every action from the puzzles to the movement and to the thought process around them. Both Telvin and fellow Game Dev Arnold made USONI interesting and challenging at the same time.

We would not have USONI the game if it were not for Marc Rigaudis. Marc has a background in film and storytelling for over 3 decades now. He worked on USONI the book for 10 years. The book was later adapted to a film. When the trailer was released online it quickly attracted thousands of views. CNN, The Guardian, Voice of America, and many other media outlets picked up on the story, usually highlighting the core part of the plot: migration from Europe to Africa. We are excited to share this story in the game version.

We are dedicated to being the ultimate developer hub for creating, playing, distributing games in Africa. 

We work on several fronts to assist in growing the African Game Development Industry particularly with Jiwe IO [] and Jiwe Esports []. Jiwe IO is focused on giving African game developers a distribution platform that is specifically tailored to their needs with great feedback, personalized support, free for them to release games on and eventually make more revenue from their games. We currently have 27 games on the platform. We are genre, language and platform agnostic, accepting android, PC and soon iOS games. 

Jiwe IO also works on several developer-centric activities to assist in growing the African Game Development Industry. These activities include game jams, developer roundtables and feedback sessions. We are also currently building our publishing arm, figuring out what value we can offer developers and how to most accurately support them. We are developing the capacity to have the African games developed on the platform used in esports, so that we can start embracing our own locally made content. 

Jiwe Esports engages youth aged between 15-30 years old in esports tournaments and focuses on getting esport players to compete locally and internationally, all while getting an opportunity to earn money as a career and to get educational scholarships. Jiwe has been actively involved in esports for 1 year, we have a gamer community of 750+ gamers and have organized 70+ esport tournaments so far. We organize competitions, create content in esports and pride ourselves on being one of the leading organizers of successful esport events, with the largest esports viewership in East Africa.

In the spirit of Jiwe ‘the rock’, we intend to build a strong foundation in the African gaming industry and be the ultimate developer hub for creating, playing and distributing unique African story-driven games.