Ever wonder what it is like to turn gaming into a career? Obviously, what comes to mind is that you’re sitting behind a screen, pushing buttons on your controller or keyboard of choice, it’s you versus the other team or you versus the other player. The crowd is going wild and obviously, in your fantasy, you beat your opponent with a really amazing chain kill or an insane come back and just like that you are the world champion. You receive the trophies and the merchandise and you become the game mascot. This sadly is not the case for all of us.
But what if I told you there is more to gaming than just competitive gaming. What if I told you that because you’re a storyteller and what you really love about games is the storyline, you can work in the industry and create the storyline for the games. Or maybe you’re a good journalist you can be an esports commentator for the tournaments. The gaming scene is wider than most people actually know, ranging from accountants to programmers. Artists to musicians. I was able to get into contact with Nathan Masyuko who has been in the industry for a while and he enlightened me on exactly how wide the industry is, and how exactly the Kenyan (and African) scene looks like.
Nathan has co-founded two companies in software & game development in Kenya. The first is NexGen Ltd. which initially focused on E-Sports and managing the local gaming community. The second is After6 Labs which focuses on building bespoke mobile and PC game projects for corporate and not-for-profit clients. He started gaming since before he was 10 on the Gameboy and grew up playing with his brother and his father as a backseat gamer. He attended the World Cyber Games in China back in 2009 as part of Team Kenya. The tournament at the time had games like Starcraft, Warcraft, FIFA, Asphalt (on mobile) and Guitar Hero.
Nathan is not a pro-gamer; he has however turned a profit in the gaming industry. He decided that instead of playing the games, he will develop the games. He claims,
“…We’re are trying to do for the video game industry what happened to the music industry. In the 90’s nobody thought that you can make a career out of music, but then Nameless came along and changed the scene…”
This is not an easy task, but the ball is already rolling. His new company Ludique Works, is the fastest-growing game publisher in Africa, aggregating game developer studios and gaming communities in 30 African countries. The company focuses on Publishing, Media, E-Sports and Education. They work with a select number of universities across the continent to create a relevant curriculum to grow the number of game developers.
During my chat with him, he explained to me that he suspects there will be a major boom in the esports and gaming industry and that niche will need to be filled as fast as possible. As such, what he is trying to do is prevent that sudden vacuum by having a workforce ready when the boom happens. This is not to state that there are no jobs at present. Nathan advises that people should hone their craft. This is not just as a gamer, but as a programmer, a journalist, a reviewer, designers, marketers, storytellers, lawyers doing IP law and even accountants.
When I asked Nathan if he would ever consider going pro, this is what he had to say,
“Back in the day, I did. But right now, I do not have the patience to the point of playing a game to be really good. In order to be really good at playing video games, it takes time. And the best of the best spend between 8 to 12 hours a day practicing for 6 days a week…”
So if you want to be a professional gamer, you have your benchmark. Nathan and his colleagues are working towards a better gamer-friendly future for Kenya and Africa in general.
Would you like to consider a career in the gaming industry?