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Nigeria mobile gaming market growth outpacing the global average

What do you do to relax when you have an idle 15 minutes? If your answer is you pull out your mobile phone and open a game, you are far from alone. Mobile has helped transform gaming from a pastime mostly focused in the US, Western Europe and some Asian countries to a truly global pursuit.

In many ways, it is no different to other leisure and entertainment technology from the past. Watching TV first became commonplace in the most affluent nations, but as the technology spread and became more affordable so TV became global.

Outpacing the international market

Nigeria’s mobile gaming industry generates revenue in the region of $125 million per year. A relative drop in the ocean for a $160 billion industry, but what is making the big developers in US and Japan take notice is the rapidity with which Nigeria is rising from one of a dozen markets thrown under the “West Africa” or “Africa – Other” buckets to a critically important market in its own right. A compound annual growth rate of more than 12 percent means the Nigerian market is growing faster than the overall global industry.

The main driver behind that growth is the rapid rise of smartphone penetration in the Nigerian market. Traditionally, the price of game consoles such as the Xbox or PlayStation has been a significant barrier, and gaming has only been accessible to the privileged minority. Today, smartphone penetration stands at about 16 percent, representing around 35 million handsets.

However, there are 170 million mobile phone users in Nigeria, and with smartphone handsets now more affordable than ever, more than 140 million are expected to be in use in Nigeria in three years time. That represents a leap from 16 percent to 67 percent smartphone penetration.

With growth projections like that, it is little wonder the US game developers are paying such close attention to the burgeoning Nigeria market. But what games are Nigerian mobile gamers playing?

Mobile casino is a surefire winner

The fact that smartphones are primarily aimed at the adult market means that the types of games that are most popular on mobile are not necessarily the ones that are trending among young gamers in the traditional sense. The real money casino sector is, of course, one that is aimed exclusively at the adult market.

In states that allow it, online casino is massively popular among mobile gamers in the US. Nigerians also tend to enjoy a wager, but interestingly, the average age is much lower. The bulk of US gamblers are aged over 55, but in Nigeria, the average age is 37. The difference is material, as someone born in the mid-80s as opposed to the mid-60s has grown up in the internet age and will be far more open minded about innovative games. Americans are more conservative in this respect, and look for the games with which they are familiar from land based casinos.

The good news is that if you look at the top picked online casinos that pay real money from Legit Gambling Sites, you can see they cater to both US casino gaming preferences and more adventurous tastes such as those of Nigeria’s younger gamers. There are literally thousands of games, ranging from old classics that have been around forever to the very latest releases from 2023.


A love of sporting games

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Nigeria is known throughout Africa and indeed the world as a nation of sports lovers. That’s something else the Nigerian gaming public has in common with its US counterparts. Mobile sports games have come on in leaps and bounds over the past two to three years, and the best news is that most of them are free to download.

Of course, in Nigeria, sport means football, and in gaming, football means FIFA – at least, until EA Sport launches its new title later in the year. As a console game, FIFA suffered that same issue of accessibility, but the mobile version is free to download and surprisingly easy to play and control on a touchscreen.

Continuing the theme, Dream League Soccer is also among the most downloaded games in Nigeria. Away from the football, NBA2K basketball is also consistently high on the download charts.

Games in other genres ranging from RPGs to action adventures to arcade classics to word games and puzzles also have a solid and steadily growing support base in Nigeria. But none are close to the popularity of casino and sport games, at least for now.


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Ifiokobong Ibanga

Ifiokobong Ibanga is the founder of InfoGuideNIgeria.com. You can get in touch with him on Instagram @ifiokobong. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly send a message. Much Love!

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