Carry1st, positioned as Africa's premier game publisher and digital commerce platform, secures a strategic investment from Sony Innovation Fund: Africa, a venture capital subsidiary of Sony Group Corporation. This collaboration, Sony Innovation Fund: Africa's inaugural investment, aims to accelerate the expansion of the gaming industry in Africa—a market experiencing rapid growth with over 200 million unique gamers and a projected spending surpassing one billion dollars by 2024.
“Increasing internet connectivity, smartphone adoption, and the emergence of 5G are propelling the African market”
Global video game industry revenues reached $187.7 billion in 2023, surpassing earnings from cinema and literature, with a 2.6% growth. The mobile segment continues to dominate, representing nearly half of the global market. Console gaming follows closely, with an anticipated 7.4% growth in 2023.
Analysis of the African gaming market reveals an estimated size of $1.92 billion in 2023, expected to reach $3.33 billion by 2028. Increasing internet connectivity, smartphone adoption, and the emergence of 5G are propelling the African market, with Nigeria identified as a key player due to its large youthful population and improved internet connectivity.
Key partnerships, such as Union Bank and Kucheza in Nigeria, underscore the rising significance of gaming as a creative and educational tool. Major players in the African gaming market include Kucheza, Kagiso Interactive, Nyamakop, Celestial Games, and Kuluya.
With over 200 million unique gamers, the gaming industry is on track to surpass a billion dollars by 2024, according to Newzoo data. Despite limited official console presence, Africa presents an immense growth opportunity, especially with the rise of live gaming services.
“Together, we hope to offer the best games in the world to players across Africa"
Carry1st, as the leading African publisher of games and digital content, aims to deliver quality content to emerging markets by addressing challenging issues. The company has already forged partnerships with industry giants like Activision, Supercell, and Riot Games, enabling the distribution of popular games such as Call of Duty: Mobile and Valorant across Africa. Founded in 2018, Carry1st has raised over $60 million from investors including Andreessen Horowitz, BITKRAFT, Google, Riot Games, and Nas.
Cordel Robbin-Coker, CEO and Co-founder of Carry1st, expressed excitement about the collaboration with Sony Innovation Fund: Africa, stating, "This partnership will help Carry1st shape the future of the video game industry in Africa. At Carry1st, we believe the African console market is a widely underestimated opportunity. Our unique regional capabilities, combined with Sony's gaming and entertainment expertise, make for a winning combination. Together, we hope to offer the best games in the world to players across Africa."
Founded in October 2023, Sony Innovation Fund: Africa plans to initially invest $10 million in entertainment startups in Africa. This initiative aligns with Sony's previous investment funds, supporting emerging technology companies across various domains. Antonio Avitabile, Managing Director, EMEA, Sony Ventures Corporation, expressed excitement about partnering with Carry1st for Sony's first investment in Africa, stating, "We believe the video game market in Africa represents a vast untapped potential, which we hope to experience and contribute to through our investment in Carry1st. We look forward to working closely with Carry1st's exceptional leadership team to support the company's growth and explore business opportunities with Sony Group companies."
Additionally, Sony has entered into a collaboration agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the world's largest development institution focused on the private sector and actively investing in emerging countries, including African startups. Beyond financial investment, this collaboration will support the growth of the entertainment industry in Africa by leveraging the strengths of both parties. Toshimoto Mitomo, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Sony Group Corporation, highlighted Sony's commitment to supporting next-generation technologies and startups through corporate venture capital activities. He expressed confidence that the Sony Innovation Fund: Africa will accelerate the growth of the African entertainment industry and contribute to the region's progress and development by providing collaboration opportunities with entertainment companies within the Group. Mitomo also emphasized that the collaboration with IFC, with its strong presence in emerging markets, will strengthen these efforts by leveraging the strengths of both parties.