The Nigerian mobile games market is a young one, but it has the potential to be enormous in the years ahead. As it stands, only around 10 per cent of the population currently owns a smartphone. However, this number is going to rise as older generations of devices drop in price and the internet becomes more ubiquitous. There are some great Nigerian games on the market now, but they may need to be promoted more effectively to attract huge audiences.

Mobile Games Are on the Rise in the Country

The amount of people with a smartphone in Nigeria is on a major upward trajectory. There were only 11 million users in 2014, but this figure more than doubled to 25 million by 2018. In terms of the general population, though, this is only a small percentage. By 2025, it is expected that there will be 143 million smartphone users in the country, highlighting how this is an incredibly lucrative market for developers to get into now.

Some business-minded computer programmers have spotted the opportunity to get ahead of the curve, and have set up their own mobile game companies. A few of the best-known studios operating out of Lagos include Maliyo Games, Gamsole, and Kuluya. There should be many more emerging in the near future, as this is considered to be one of the world’s most fertile gaming markets.

Some of the Best Nigerian Options

Looking at the most downloaded apps in Nigeria, the majority of games are from international developers. Call of Duty: Mobile, Hero Wars, and Candy Crush are three of the top played games in the country, and this is mainly thanks to their notoriety. There are plenty of Nigerian games to choose from, though, and these could find more success if they were marketed more effectively.

Gidi Run from Gamsole is one of the standout Nigerian mobile offerings and one that has attracted players ever since its release in 2016. The title is an endless running game inspired by titles like Subway Surfers, only this one is set on the streets of Lagos. Throne of Gods is a lesser-known game, but one that could have great appeal worldwide if it was promoted well. The title from Akdogan Ali and Umusu Samson is clearly inspired by classic combat games like Tekken.

Monkey Post is a game that would appeal to anyone who’s ever played football on the streets of Nigeria. The offering from ChopUp is a recreation of the football scene that can be found in so many neighbourhoods in the country. This includes backyard football pitches and makeshift goalposts made from pieces of wood.

Plenty of Inspiration for Developers

Along with creating games that are geared specifically towards Nigerian players, developers in the country should look to other bustling markets in Africa for inspiration. The online casino industry in South Africa is growing rapidly at the moment, and Nigeria is not far behind. By looking at the most popular games here, developers should be able to find some direction for their games.

According to a list of the most popular online games in South Africa, players are keen on offerings like online slots, online bingo, and video poker. Developers could look to make versions of these games for online casino audiences, or they could create standalone mobile apps about them. It does appear that variety is key, with players often choosing where to play based on the selection available. However, they can also be swayed by the lucrative welcome bonuses. With this in mind, apps that incorporate a few different games, along with a tempting freebie to draw players in could be successful.

Another way that game makers in the country could gain inspiration is from the abundance of Nigerian films that have hit screens in recent years. In the west, a lot of blockbuster movies have dedicated apps that help people enjoy the themes in different ways. The Jurassic World franchise, for instance, has numerous mobile games accompanying it. A game based on Nigeria’s highest-grossing film of all time, Omo Ghetto: The Saga, for example, could be an instant hit.

While a lot of new smartphone owners in Nigeria will be playing western games on their devices, there will also be a huge market for titles that embrace Nigerian culture. It certainly appears as though there is a large gap in the market for quintessentially Nigerian mobile games. Young start-ups in the country can look to the success stories in the gaming scene to date and find inspiration from them.