Microsoft has confirmed its planned two-day Xbox Game Studios Game Camp Africa conference to recognize all game creators in more than 50 countries and regions.

Through its Africa Transformation Office (ATO), Microsoft said the conference is slated to run from July 15 to 16, 2023, with the applications window formally opening on Thursday.

The summit comes amid growing interest in the gaming industry from youth in Africa with the sector set to grow significantly as more people get connected to the internet in Africa.

The 2021 GSMA mobile economy report shows that 303 million people, or about 28 per cent of the population in the Sub-Saharan Africa region are connected to mobile internet.

The number is projected to grow to 474 million by the year 2025 hence providing many more opportunities for gaming and local creators to grow and develop in the market.

According to a report by Newzoo, the number of Sub-Saharan gamers has more than doubled in the last five years with the region predicted to be the fastest-growing worldwide for both mobile gamers and people who pay for games.

The State of the African Games Industry 2022 established that South Africa had the highest saturation of gamers in Africa, with 24 million people playing in a population of 59 million.

In Kenya, 22 per cent of people are gamers, while in Ghana the number is higher at 27 per cent, compared to 23 per cent in Nigeria and 13 per cent in Ethiopia.

Game Camp is a programme that brings together various Xbox initiatives under one roof to celebrate talent and empower game developers to pursue their talents and dreams.

Game Camp will host four in-person locations for campers during the two days in Cairo, Johannesburg, Lagos and Nairobi even as presentations, panels and workshops will be available online for all registered campers.

The sites will provide viewing parties, on-site panel sessions and chances to meet Microsoft and Xbox personnel with teams or individuals with games to pitch encouraged to do so.

The Game Camp, now in its second year and 5th event, seeks to empower creators to realize their potential in gaming through unique learning experiences from industry leaders.

“At Xbox, we’re on a mission to bring the joy and community of gaming to the world’s 3 billion gamers and we recognize that Africa is home to the largest population of youth in the world, many who love to play,” said Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer.

He added, “Through the inaugural Xbox Game Studios Camp Africa, in collaboration with Microsoft’s Africa Transformation Office, we have an opportunity to continue to deepen our relationships with talented developers in region and help African games studios realize their vision and role in the global gaming industry.”

To take part, individuals must be aged above 18, live in any African country and is studying or working part or full-time in the field of software development, visual arts, 3D, music and audio, web design, narrative design, or professional project management.

“At Microsoft, we are excited to enable African game developers and creators to build faster through access to tools and resources, and to help their games be discovered by players in Africa and around the world,” said Microsoft CEMA Strategic Initiatives Lead Wael Elkabbany.

He added, “We want to grow strong roots in this significant market for gaming and game development.”

The Xbox and ATO personnel will also combine efforts to identify game studios to invest in through their startups acceleration programme and venture capital investment partners.

During this year’s Game Camp Africa, participants will join remotely through Microsoft Teams or participate in person at four open-house locations in Nairobi, Cairo, Johannesburg, and Lagos.

The event is themed “The Journey of a Game” and will offer multiple perspectives on the many times complex craft of game development.

The camp will also have significant online learning components that allow contestants to engage with focused training modules on topics aligned with their skills and interests.