How Nigerian women are influencing the video game industry

Image A graphic designer by training, Evelyn Adebayo is in the midst of what she calls a life’s work. The head of commercial business development at the Nigerian travel agency Poten Tours & Travels,…

How Nigerian women are influencing the video game industry

Image

A graphic designer by training, Evelyn Adebayo is in the midst of what she calls a life’s work. The head of commercial business development at the Nigerian travel agency Poten Tours & Travels, the 38-year-old entrepreneur started WhistleOut, a popular game app for iOS, last year.

Launched on her fifth birthday, the the free game has become an important storytelling platform in Nigeria, as well as a popular one among female game developers worldwide.

“Through the app, we’re connecting across borders with women from a range of professions and backgrounds,” she says. “The game didn’t happen because I was working in the travel industry. I started this because I just want to share my love for games with other girls.”

The Women in Gaming project featured WhistleOut as a 2017 nominee for the Encompass Award. She won the award in its category.

Yumi who ran the 2017 Crunchie finalists, Work (NiTi), and many other successful games, says that the app is still in its early stages, but has already drawn attention in the industry.

“It’s not where I want it to be, but it has potential,” she says. “We know our target audience. It’s a wide audience, but it’s targeted towards the little woman who wants to know how to run a business in an entertaining way.”

Worldwide, the idea of creating board games based on a specific theme has been slowly gaining traction, with companies including Shinco and Mashable launching new categories in recent years.

Adebayo acknowledges that game making is an expensive venture, so WhistleOut will need investors to reach its full potential. There are questions about whether the board game culture is mature enough for board games made in Nigeria. Some critics see such games as catering to the small minority of wealthy Nigerians that live in the country’s cities. Others consider the games more suitable for an international audience.

Adebayo, on the other hand, has a message for the skeptical observers: “We’re starting with a low budget to do something no one has tried before in Nigeria.”

Related:

Editor’s notes: Read interviews with other women who are shaping the video games industry

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