Carry1st, Africa’s mobile games and the interactive content publisher has acquired a mobile board game, Gebeta in a deal targeted at driving up African culture to the peak of global recognition and accurate representation through gaming.
The move comes at a time when Africa’s mobile gaming industry is rapidly expanding. According to the 2021 GSMA mobile economy report, 303 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa, almost 28 per cent of the population have a mobile internet connection, a driving force towards mobile gaming in the continent.
Gebeta is a mobile board game built on the mancala games principles, but more engaging. Released in 2019, the game quickly gained high engagement and added to its quality visuals, it stood out from most others, winning the 2020 AppsAfrica Best App of the Year award.
Carry1st initially entered into a global multi-year partnership with the Ethiopia-based developer, Qene Games, to publish Gebeta in November 2020.
Being a renowned games publisher, Carry1st’s capabilities in handling the game would enhance its development and success as an African-made game.
Conversations about the acquisition kicked off earlier in the partnership when both companies saw a potential for mutual profitability and deeper considerations left a conclusion that it would facilitate a successful mission.
“This acquisition is a significant milestone for Qene Games, as it validates the hard work and dedication of our team in creating fun and engaging games. It also opens up new opportunities for us to expand our reach and connect with a larger audience. We see this as a stepping stone for further collaborations with Carry1st, and we look forward to exploring new possibilities and opportunities for growth in the gaming industry together,” said the founder of Qene Games, Dawit Abraham.
Cordel Robbin-Coker, Co-Founder / CEO of Carry1st said: “We are thrilled to acquire Gebeta, one of the most promising free-to-play mobile games out of Africa. Mancala is culturally deeply rooted across frontier markets and Gebeta’s modern reinterpretation lays the foundation for what we believe will become a marquee mobile game in Africa and around the world. We are grateful for our partnership with Qene Games and the opportunity to continue catalyzing the mobile games industry in Africa.”
The acquisition provides Qene Games with its first exit of a game, a long-term royalty, and allows the company to focus more on expanding its library and growing its platform.
Qene Games will continue working with Carry1st on the growth and development of Gebeta to reach its full potential, but in a much more limited capacity, and will also handle the publishing of the game in the original market of Ethiopia.
The developer has been making waves as a pan-African game studio by launching fun and premium quality mobile games, including the recently launched Kinet, a unique platform for game monetization in Africa, offering subscriptions, esports tournaments, in-app purchases, and ads.
Qene Games is now focusing on using Kinet to help other African game creators monetize their games and expand its own library with engaging and entertaining games. Additionally, the gaming company is looking to establish larger partnerships with various technology providers in the African gaming industry to further expand its role in the scene.
Carry1st plans to significantly increase the resources dedicated to developing Gebeta and preparing it for a global launch. The company foresees Gebeta becoming one of the most recognizable Mancala titles available in the market.