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The City of Cape Town (CoCT) is a sponsor of the upcoming Africa Games Week taking place in February 2022. The three-day-long hybrid event is the largest gathering of South African and African game developers in the world. It is attended by top developers, gamers, content creators, digital artists, publishers, brands, industry experts and exporters from across the globe. 

The CoCT has been working to create an enabling environment for gaming in the city. It promotes a lower cost of living; actively develops physical, technical and digital infrastructure; and supports a thriving creative arts industry. More than half of the country’s game development studies are based in Cape Town and the city is considered Africa’s game development hub. 

Hosting Africa Games Week gives Cape Town the opportunity to further showcase and stimulate growth of the South African game industry. The CoCT recognises that for a city to become a successful game creation centre, it must have a complete game development ecosystem which encompasses game industry education, government and the public.

Spotlight on African game developers

The aim of Africa Games Week is for African game developers and the gaming community at large to connect with each other, grow their networks, and develop the industry. It shines a spotlight on the creatives and businesses rising around Africa. 

According to Africa Games Week organisers, the event’s mandate is to “discover, engage, connect and expose the amazing talents and opportunities that exist”. This mandate is supported by increased interest in the African game industry, which has recently seen new co-production treaties, and new studios and education facilities being launched. 

In previous years, Africa Games Week has seen big international brands come together at the event. This includes PlayStation, Ubisoft, Nintendo, Sega, Focus, Devolver, Landfall and more. 

The first Africa Games Week was held in 2018, at the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town, as was the 2019 event. The 2020 edition was held completely online due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

This event, initially scheduled to take place from 8 – 10 December, has been postponed to February 2022 following the global developments around the Omicron variant and resulting travel bans. The hybrid event will run live conferences and a gaming exhibition on 23 February at Avenue Conference and Event Centre at the V&A Waterfront. On 24 and 25 February, the event will go virtual. Pre-recorded presentations will be interlaced with live streams of the conference panels and presentations from speakers from across Africa and the world. 

The CoCT has encouraged South African game developers to use the event to learn from international best practice but also to put their own unique stamp on their games. 

Multiple events under Africa Games Week umbrella

Africa Games Week 2022 is hosting five events under its banner, namely: 

  • Make Games Africa: A professional conference and workshop event that brings international investors, publishers and speakers to the sub-Saharan African market. It brings with it stakeholders that are not usually accessible to local players. Make Games Africa aims to expose local development talent to potential clients to help grow local demand for locally produced games and games services. 
  • Games for Change Africa: Games for Change (G4C) Africa is being launched at next year’s Africa Games Week. Its creation was announced at the most recent G4C event in New York. The event will bring together those who are interested in using games to drive social, learning and business goals across the continent. 
  • Africa StreamCon: This is a business event for African content creators and streamers. Participants will discuss topics such as monetisation, law and contracts, technology, communication, work ethics, futures and diversity.
  • A Maze Train Jam South Africa: Gamers, coders and programmers from around the world take part in this annual programming marathon which takes place on a 24-hour train ride from Johannesburg to Cape Town. The results are presented when they reach Cape Town. 
  • Nordic Game Discovery Contest: This is an exciting, competitive challenge where selected game projects are showcased in pitch competitions. This year contestants will compete live in an online, round-based battle for points. 

City of Cape Town supporting gaming from ground up

The CoCT has supported the growth of gaming in the city since at least 2017 when it recognised gaming as a sport and launched an e-games pilot project at four public recreation facilities. 

With this project, the city aimed to introduce and develop a passion for gaming on ground level. It hoped that e-games would help improve the focus, attention, and reaction time of young gamers. The CoCT wants to use gaming to empower young people with valuable computing, literacy, problem-solving and coordination skills. 

It hoped that by providing gaming facilities, teenagers, in particular, would not only be encouraged to think quickly and take part in positive social interaction on team games, but would also be deterred from anti-social behaviour caused by boredom. 

Strict Covid-19 safety protocols for Africa Games Week

Africa Games Week 2021 is enforcing strict Covid-19 policies to ensure the safety and comfort of all participants, and to help prevent the spread of the virus. Participants need to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to attend the event and will be required to always wear masks. 

Other measures such as temperature checks, social distancing, and hygiene practices will also be enforced. Participants will not be permitted to eat or drink inside the venue. 

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