In Uganda “Amatatu” is the local name for cards. Kola Studios is known for its knack for turning popular African offline games into amazing mobile games in a bid to preserve them for future generations. Their mobile game Matatu leveraged the cherished Amatatu offline gaming experience and as a result, made adoption and cultural preservation a walk in the park.
Kola Studio was founded in 2013 by Okalany Daniel, Onono Jasper and Terry Karungi. It is a mobile app and game development studio based in Uganda. In addition to Matatu, they have 7 other games under their belt namely; Last Card, Spar, Mosquito Rush, Keiko, Tapt, Zword and Karata.
It was easy for the Matatu game to break even because the Ugandan population was already in love with the offline gaming experience. The success of Matatu can be attributed to the fact that the mobile game brought the cherished experience closer to the Ugandan population. Previously, players had to carry a physical pack of cards around looking for people to play with. Now, they are able to play with other players online no matter the time of day or the distance between them.
When asked what inspired the game Daniel Okalany had the following to say, “I love playing games. I grew up playing several and I also happened to enjoy coding so I thought it would be nice to digitise one of the most popular games that I played while growing up. I wanted people to be able to play the game anytime and anywhere.”
Matatu game is currently standing on the 1,000,000+ mark on Google Play Store. Kola Studios is also continuously engaging its audience in tournaments with a chance for the winners to walk away with some money for their efforts. The Trio’s ingenuity bore fruit. The Ugandan culture of playing Amatatu has been enhanced and is currently being preserved in a sustainable way.