UZ IT student takes on the global gaming industry

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the herald

Environment & Innovations Editor

YOUNG African IT students are convinced that Africa is ripe for the booming global mobile gaming industry, which generated over $159.3 billion in revenue in 2020, 48% of which came from mobile gaming and 52% of PC and console gaming.

“We can no longer afford to miss this boat. I believe that as a young Zimbabwean and a proud African, we should take on the global mobile gaming industry and aim step by step to get a share of the huge revenue generated by the industry,” says Harmony Murombo, 22 . Computer Engineering student at the University of Zimbabwe.

Harmony has designed an Android game called Harmony3DGame. The game is a mobile game he designed from scratch using python and blender.

“The game is basically about a ball that will collect coins and have to avoid being hit by moving gold enemies; if the player manages to collect all the coins, he will advance to the next level,” he says.

“The purpose of the game I designed is to solve the compatibility problem and also to solve the centralization problem since the software is compatible with all operating systems such as Windows, Linux, MacOS and Android and can be played on line.

“This game has advantages. It teaches problem solving skills and inspires interest in our Zimbabwean or African history and culture. Moreover, the game can also help children make friends and improve their social skills. I also want my games to bring parents and children together.

In the late 2000s, most African countries missed out on the PC era and found themselves in the era of mobile computing.

Now, slowly but surely, the gaming industry in Africa is also shifting towards mobile gaming with many opportunities and possibilities for young innovators on the continent.

“With the fastest growing youth population and rapid adoption rates of mobile smart phones across the continent, it’s safe to say that Africa is ripe for a booming mobile gaming industry. But in reality, it is still in its infancy. In 2018, the market was worth $570 million. Today, African game developers face a series of structural problems, including slow, unreliable and expensive internet connection,” says a computer game analyst.

Harmony’s game innovation has been selected to be showcased at UZ Research Innovation and Industrialization Week.

The event was held under the theme: “University of Zimbabwe: Updating a Research-Innovation-Industrialization Ecosystem Model for Zimbabwe’s Economic Development”.

“I’m dreaming big and hope to bring the game to market soon. I want it to be rolled out on the Google Play Store where people can download and advertise it using various Google advertising platforms, or sell it to interested businesses. like Econet. The target market for the game is young children,” says Harmony.

“Since there are no companies in Zimbabwe that develop games, I hope to start my own company that will train people to develop them. This could create jobs for our fellow Zimbabweans and also help in the implementation of online game development courses at the University of Zimbabwe.

“Currently, there are no such courses in the country. I hope to be part of a generation of new and daring young Zimbabwean innovators who will create VR-based games from scratch into big gaming applications in the near future.

Most young people in Africa like to play games on their devices, but none of these games are African. African countries spend millions of dollars using games developed in the West that are heavily influenced by European and American culture.

However, there is a growing number of African IT graduates who are now pushing for a change – harnessing local languages ​​and culture in dealing with games.

Many now combine games using African languages ​​such as Swahili, Shona, Zulu and Xhosa, among others.

Breaking into the global gaming industry is not for the faint-hearted.

“From the African point of view, I think it’s something that is still beginning. It’s only been a few years since the start of the tech boom in Africa, so most people are building back-end apps and creating mobile apps for business,” Neno Principal Engineer Brighton Mukorera says in an online report on the transition to game development, the state of the mobile gaming industry in Africa and his thoughts on technology in Zimbabwe.

“People haven’t ventured into the gaming space because there’s no guarantee you’ll make any income. It’s a lot easier to get jobs when you say you’re a Java developer or a developer C# building apps for business.So most gamers do it in their spare time.

“There are probably one or two Zimbabwean companies in the game. It’s not yet common here because although Africans are spending more time on their mobile phones, other factors like internet availability and cost of ‘Internet can prevent you from monetizing.

“Although it is a risky space, it has a lot of potential. Over the next five years, as more people become connected and the Internet becomes cheaper, the market will grow. So it’s best to start preparing for this moment now, so that when we get to this point, we already have things in place, and we don’t have to start from scratch.

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