A first look at the Angolan games industry showed a scene still in the throes of hobbyist trying to carve out a career from their passion. GIA spoke to Richard Garcia, a developer who hopes he and his team will be the first to establish themselves full time.
What is the state of Angola’s game industry?
In Angola gaming is not very big. There are a lot of people who want to play games, but there are few that want to develop. There are also no records of previous attempts to break int the industry. The only way to learn is to talk people who were involved in gaming. There aren’t any big studios, the biggest company that invests or associates with gaming in a small capacity is Unitel, one of the biggest telecommunications company.
As a person with ambitions to develop your own studio, which platform would you say is the dominant one in Angola (PC, mobile etc)?
In Angola is mostly consoles and mobile, there are a few that use PC, but that’s only because it’s very expensive to buy a good PC for gaming or development.
Could you talk more about any games you have developed and your aspirations within the games industry?
So far, my team Otaku Gaming (OG) have developed five small games for PC, we started making games two years ago. We hope to be the first big studio in Angola. In summary, we envision a future were gaming isn’t expensive and to have accessible gaming equipment, and put our country on the map with our own triple A games and hopefully create more jobs.
What element of the Angolan games industry would you say requires a lot of development?
Everything within development. Unfortunately small studios and indie developers are way too focused on ripping off existing games and make their own incomplete versions just to sell. Very few have the ambition to create a studio or at least make quality games. And another point is fact that there are no game development schools so the only avenue to learn is online.
Could you briefly outline the process of setting up a studio in Angola for someone who might be keen to invest in the region?
I don’t know the exact process, but small studios usually start by renting a house in “Marginal”(the city) or Talatona. usually they are a group of less than 5 people, and the rest is more about the legal side, like legitimizing the company. Additionally according to my research, it takes at least three to five million Kwanzaas (six to 10 thousand dollars) to start a small studio.
How do you see the Angolan games industry evolving over the next 1, 5 and 10 years?
I think the industry will be way bigger in five to 10 years. I and my team will be a big part of that, ever since me and partner met that have been our goal, to make a splash in the games industry and put our country on the map. Currently, we can see a lot communities excited about gaming in Angola. There is also a lot of excitement about game development, but they just need to be shown that it is possible. Another sector I believe is going to be huge is esports and tournaments. And finally I hope that gaming becomes more mainstream since most people here still see it as childish and unproductive.