The Audiolats channel Virtual Africa on Creative Disturbance hosted a video conference between Dallas and Dakar where UT Dallas students engaged with Gamecamp Senegal attendees on topics relating to games, language, culture and creative industries.
Students from the School of Art, Technology and Emerging Communication at UT Dallas held a virtual meeting with Gamecamp organizer Kofi Sika Latzoo and Goethe Institut Sénégal’s director Michael Jeismann, led by Virtual Africa’s project coordinator and ATEC doctoral student Yvan Tina.
The group discussed the issue of technological development in some areas, the various business models available for the gaming industry, the implementation of transmedia narratives across multiple platforms, the role of government agencies in creative industry, and the future of mobile gaming in Africa.
It follows from that discussion that microtransactions currently constitutes the most reliable business plan for game developers in Sénégal due to the high cost of internet plans that keep most people from being able to play online with their smartphones. The microtransaction strategy allows one to progress at his/her own pace and to access the game offline. The low tech approach, as opposed to high tech (virtual and augmented reality), doesn’t have good days ahead given the rapid growtth of technology. However, there are alternative solutions such as the use of solar energy to deal with the access to electricity and the internet. One could even envision the emergence on new games based on this ecological approach. Similarly, the potential of serious games, through the gamification of many aspects of life, offer the opportunity to overcome the challenge of education in some African countries.
The last issue to be pointed out remains the incredible diversity of African societies, with thousands of languages and cultures, presents a real difficulty for game designers. It remains, however, that multilingualism and the development of African storytelling (based, for example, on oral traditions or afrofuturist speculations) would be an incredible asset for anyone involved in the African creative industries.
The Gamecamp—a festival which ran from July 14-17, 2016 in Dakar, Senegal—is a partnership with the Goethe Institut, the International Game Developers Association (IGDA Sénégal) and Orange Telecommunications. The festival has toured many African countries since its inception and was marked this year by the release of Google’s Cardboard as well as of NVIDIA’s Shield, the most powerful box android TV in the market, and the cloud gaming Geforce Now.
The festival allows attendees the opportunity to discover many games that have been developed in Sénégal such as Da’karapid, Cross Dakar City, HA Buggy and Diambar. Workshops for game designers on Unity, Game Design Canvas and several gaming tournaments (Call of Duty, Leagues of Legend) as well as an initiation to 360 panoramic photography (ConceptSky VT) are also offered in this program.