After an article published by Bizna earlier in the year that focused on trying to understand why the concept of eSports was lagging behind in Kenya, a country known for its prowess in tech innovation, Bizna stumbled upon Rubik’s Digital Limited, a local company that seems to be quite ahead of the pack in this area.
Established two years ago, Rubik’s Digital consider themselves as pioneers in arena of eSports development in Kenya as well as the production of mobile-based video games that are purposely designed to entertain, educate and inform their target audience, particularly the youth.
They have established a gaming hub in Kenya that encourages young developers to create or co-create compelling video gaming content that can be used as a basis for eSports in Kenya.
For those not quite familiar with the eSports concept, it generally, refers the world of competitive, organized video gaming where competitors from different leagues or teams face off in the same games that are popular with gamers at home.
Some of the most popular esports video games in the world today are Fortnite, League of Legends, Counter-Strike, Call of Duty, Overwatch and Madden NFL, to name a few
To differentiate their concept from other video games in the world, Rubik’s Digital games are largely inspired by the legendary African culture, tradition and folklore. The idea is intended to preserve the African heritage by passing its rich tradition and culture to a younger generation through technology.
Rubik’s Digital believes that only through innovation and technology are we able to relive authentic African stories through video games that allow individuals or teams to play for fun or register and play in award-winning scheduled tournaments.
These tournaments accords players an excellent opportunity to explore a unique experience by interacting with legendary African stories presented with a modern world-class look, feel and effects to make them contemporary to their audience.
For instance, the company has digitized Ajua, a traditional mancala board game played in most parts of East, Central, South, West and North Africa. In the East African Coastal region, it is known as Boa. They have also digitized Kadi, a unique Kenyan-based variation of the card game commonly played in the estates and referred to as ‘poker’.
To access the Rubik’s Digital content online, the company has built a robust platform known as PlayOn. The PlayOn App is available on Play Store for android users.
Rubik’s approach to developing video games is therefore a counter narrative to what largely exists out there. Indeed, Rubik’s is keen to develop video game content that is inspired by the diverse African culture and folklore to help preserve its rich heritage and history.
So far, PlayOn has already lined up several exciting video gaming ideas fashioned around renowned African legendary stories from different parts of the continent. Most of the games are at various stages of development, thus creating an exciting pipeline for interesting eSports and video gaming content for the African audience.
PlayOn is currently undergoing test runs with various user groups and the results are extremely encouraging. The company can run tournaments and competitions using the PlayOn platform. For instances this Saturday, on 4th December 2021, the PlayOn platform will showcase its capability being live at Diamond Plaza during the Nairobi Comic Convention (NAICCON) 2021. Game enthusiasts are encouraged to download the PlayOn App from Play Store for Android users.
Today, the eSports industry is worth over a billion dollars and growing fast. For instance, Prize pools for both the 2019 Dota 2 International and the 2019 Fornite World Cup surpassed $30 million.
The meteoric rise of esports is not by chance. In 2019 when the eSports market size notched $1 billion, almost half of that revenue came from sponsors.
Huge potential for eSports in Kenya
Looking at the global trends and the explosion of video games in the rest of the rest of the world, Bizna has opined before that it is just a matter of time before someone in Kenya figures out a winning business model approach for conquering the Kenyan and indeed the African video game market with a more a unique product offering for the African audience.
From the look of things, PlayOn seems to have figured out how to conjure up a winning strategy that allows them to develop authentic local content that is produced to world-class standards through stunning graphics, visual feel, look and appeal and then offered as eSports material for scheduled competitions with attractive prizes. Without a doubt, the area PlayOn has entered is one we shall be watching very closely at Bizna.