Why aren't Nigerian mobile games conquering the app store?


Interesting Conversation
Also in the Industry like Darmie… I head Sonbim Games
… and occasionally strike out with quick silly ideas as a mini outfit called Smad Studios…

I agree with those who say getting to the top requires a Good Quality game…
But again a good game takes time and resources…
Something which is hard to risk without assurance of returns… (Funding is still a biggie)
I for example am married with a kid on the way, I cant be dedicating the 4-6 months it takes to work exclusively to build a “great locally relevant game” , no matter how much I believe in it :grinning:


The road to success is not paved with lilies and rainbows unless you are Paris Hilton.


No one said it is…
And entrepreneurship is sacrifice…
Now sadly, time is money, in the days when I had to factor only myself… I could take that as a sacrifice…
Eat once a day, whatever it took…
How would you explain not being able to pay for diapers, or the electricity bills because you were working on a game?? :slight_smile:


Angry Birds was Roxio’s 38th game… it’s a loooong road
King was already a successful company,and spent millions in R&D in 2013 to know what gamers wanted before Candy Crush as you mentioned
SuperCell…had massive funding from the Finnish Government, they were actually working on 4 games, building them , doing massive testing and crushing them when they didn’t stand up to what they needed…and this was working all day, everyday.

My point being playing with the “big boys” even locally is very hard. We simply DO not have the resources.
The seemingly “best” funded gaming startup Kuluya was axed when the realities hit. I haven’t spoken to Zubair or Bayo at ChopUp in a while but they aren’t also finding it easy.
Those of us surviving have kept it lean and mean. but it takes time juggling it with the stuff that does put food on the table.Without funding , no one can face this full-time and give it the attention it deserves.
There’s thousands of great apps on Google Play that wallow in the 500-1000 range simply because there’s not enough publicity around them …But it’s not all Doom and Gloom…
Nigerians do enjoy relevant content even if it’s not as good as … well … others (case in point… Nollywood) . In our case, our most popular game ironically was a silly one we made in a few days for fun called PEJ Unchained
In the weeks after it’s release, it was in all those TOP Free and Top New Charts for Nigeria for a few weeks.
(and imagine that barely 5000 downloads is what counts as popular in a country with about 25 million smart phones)

Total Income after 4 months? $109

(And this was preying on PEJ’s then popularity, the upcoming elections, with over 500 Facebook shares, features on Nairaland’s homepage and a few blogs)

Meanwhile the one we spent a lot of time on (months), creating 3d art, stages,animation and whatnot simply refused to get off the ground
It is doable and i’m hoping 2016 is the year one of us has a medium breakout hit…
Am not even looking for a million but let a game hit 100,000 downloads naaaa (:grinning:) #BigDreams


Nigerian games are not compelling as simple as that and its not the ux its the concepts.


@ Nwabu Don’t think so. I know of a few Nigerian games that have done very well in other countries than when compared to our Nigerian counterpart (given a ration of 25 : 1). I keep saying and will keep saying… the gaming culture is low in this part of the world.

In other news, I would say by statistics if you’re not targetting a board game or a game that involves politics of some kind then you might not get the traction you’re looking for. Taken from these two games, which as far as I know have one of the highest downloads.



Might be something to take note of when making your next game!!!


God bless this thread… A few persons have already said this, but I’ll say it again…

We do not push or advertise our products or services or games or apps or whatever we make well enough…

Its only through serious searching that I find most Nigerian made sites or products, and I have to bookmark them so I can go back and use and comment and help make it popular.

We don’t sell ourselves, you make an app, post it on one forum and then keep quiet about it… ADVERTISE people, share it with every Abdul, Kehinde and Ebuka you meet, pay for an ad scheme, put monetization in-front, make it with the customer in mind (forget your predefined idea of how IT MUST be, especially as you won’t be the one using it)…

Hopefully one day we will get there, and I seriously can’t wait…


To get real traction on your game downloads on Google Play store, you need to be Featured by Google on the front page. To be even considered by Google for a possible Feature, you need to either:

  1. Have at least 50,000 downloads and a 4.5 star rating, or
  2. Know someone at Google Play (and I don’t mean the janitor).

To get to 50,000 downloads, you need to already have a dedicated customer base that rushes to download your game, or you have to build your niche from scratch.

I don’t thinking building your niche around an African audience is a bad thing per se as iRoko does that and are quite successful. You just can’t focus on Nigeria alone. iRoko again only has 6% of its users in Nigeria. The focus should really be on the sophisticated Africans in the diaspora with more disposable time and income.

To get to those guys however, you will have to go through the same advertising channels the big mobile publishers (King, Gameloft, etc) use. To make matters worse, the big console publishers (EA, Activision, Ubisoft, etc) have now entered the mobile space, so acquisition costs for users have gone through the roof!

I think one way to make decent returns is to work out a publishing deal with one of the publishers. Gamsole does that with Microsoft and Chillingo offers publishing services as well. That way you can focus on building a solid product and leave the advertising and marketing to someone else.

But I feel you guys’ pain. Funding and technical resources are always a hurdle. I can only imagine what it’s like working in naij (Lagos to be specific) with the insane traffic, insane prices for passable internet, and insane Nepa situation. I guess the latter two can be solved by getting a membership at CcHUB or something, but that Lagos traffic mehn…no forgiveness.


True talk…


Word ooo
Kudos to all grilling it in Lasgidi
Everytime I enter, I have to run out quickly, almost tears my head apart smiley:
I jejely manage my Abj knowing I can get from point A to B in 15-20 mins


Having a few conversations around this topic with a couple of stakeholders and partners in the ecosystem. Hit me up here on Radar or via aniediudo@gmail.com if you have some strong comments, feedback, challenges, contributions to give/make. Bullet points are perfect. Also drop a hint if you’ll be available in Ikoyi/VI at about noon on Friday (March 18) for a quick in-person meetup.


I would like to be part of the conversation for sure. I don’t reside in Lagos but I’ll definitely shoot you an email.


As I see it, there are simply no good app developers in Nigeria. I have tried to Google it and found a couple of websites. For example ( cittrex.com/ ) or that one ( kordahitechnologies.com/services/mobile-app-development-services-nigeria) - poor websites, poor marketing, cheap slogans and so on. I just can’t see why they would be conquering the app store.Take a look at any UK mobile application developer ( magora-systems.com/mobile-application-developers-london/ ), as an example, and you will see the difference.
Antoher thing is that they are simply not interested in game development. It is not the most profitable field - developing for businesses can bring much more income.


Says who, see here Apple buys a Nigerian-owned ICT firm for $1 billion. I guess you didn’t search well, did you check out http://appsworkforce.com.


To conquer the app store, you will find this thread useful


From my short memory, i can only count an handful of Nigerian friends who would spend money buying levels on a game,or to download a game.
We can talk about lack of skill,exposure,lack of professionals etc but it all points towards d economical landscape.
To acquire skill,exposure,convince professionals to work with a project involves funds.
How do u expect a top notch game from an entrepreneur who probably just has N1m as his/her capital.He has to hire writers,editors,graphic designer,animators and probably do all of the programming work himself/herself.Doesn’t even have funds for any form of R&D.
He/she probably has to source alternative power etc The entire stress and uncertainties usually would blindfold him mentally and eventually,he publishes a game below par.
We can criticize and condemn, but as it turns out:majority of contributors on Radar simply havent launched any commercial enterprise yet,so its easy to just speak from a somewhat blind angle.
Used to run my mouth sometime back until I worked with a couple startups and saw first hand what these teams face.Once worked for a local startup where the COA (cost of acquisition)was 1k per new user.
How does that game entrepreneur with N1m fund a marketing campaign with a COA of 1k per user?Long realized its easier to criticize than create.lol


Your UK app. Developer has access to resources his/her Nigerian counterpart will only dream of.I assume some people probably will condemn Team Nigeria for failing to bring back a medal from Rio,in just a few days.
Its time for everyone to be realistic for once abeg


I do agree with you that building any enterprise in Nigeria is an arduous task and it’s a lot easier to criticise than to build. However, I think the fact that most people on radar haven’t launched any commercial enterprise doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t make meaningful contributions on this thread. If not as builders but as consumers which is arguably more relevant to the discourse.

Candidly, the problem of Nigeria is an open secret. Our collective discuss needs to evolve to the level of building meaningful products in spite of the limitations. Especially, if we want people to shell out their hard-earned money for these products.

I know the quality of designs that was coming out of Nigeria 10 years ago, I know what was being produced 5 years ago and I m aware of what folks re creating today. What has changed? People woke up and realised they needed to up their games.

Can meaningful, quality and commercially-viable products (including games) be built in Nigeria? Yes. Will it be easy? No.



Rightfully so. Our highly esteemed team just started preparations recently while their Chinese counterparts started four years ago. Let’s see the magic they want to perform.


Gbam. You don talk am. I am currently going through hell. This app hustle nor be as I think am.