Attack of the small screens: Africa eyes mobile gaming boom
Sidick Bakayoko, founder of Paradise Games, in the Ivory Coast, talks about his work at Africa Games Week, one of Africa’s most significant electronic gaming expos, in Cape Town November 28, 2018. — AFP pic CAPE TOWN, Dec 2 — An army of humans laid waste to an alien colony as South African video game maker Simon Spreckley enthusiastically controlled the action using his phone’s touch screen.“The penetration of mobile devices in Africa is huge. People often have two or three phones, which is pretty crazy,” said Spreckley, 40, who wore a T-shirt emblazoned with “Brute”, a four-armed muscled alien from the game.“So that’s one of the big pluses and why we are trying to do this,” he said, promoting Invasion Day which will likely launch on Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play platform in 2019.The multi-player tactics game, set in the 1950s, is the brainchild of Spreckley’s eight-strong team at VSUS, a Cape Town-based developer.Many other African developers are also opting to tailor games for mobile devices instead of traditional consoles like PlayStation or desktop computers, leading to a surge of handheld innovation on the continent.“There’s enormous potential in Africa because the continent is primarily mobile,” said Sidick Bakayoko, 34, the founder of Paradise Game, an umbrella group for developers in Ivory Coast.“We’ve done a jump and instead of first going with PC, we’ve gone directly to mobile,” he told AFP at last week’s Africa Games Week convention in Cape Town which brought together African games coders, developers and artists with top executives from Sony and other industry giants.“With the emergence of a number of low-cost smartphones, it’s now very easy to purchase a mobile phone,” he said while video games enthusiasts tried out the continent’s latest digital offerings on screens nearby.‘Jump on the bandwagon’Bakayoko said that the increasing number of African gaming products for handheld devices mirrored the explosion of mobile banking and financial tools like Kenya’s Mpesa on the continent in recent years.“So there’s great potential for video games using electronic payments... it can work well with Kenya as a prime example,” he said.“There’s no reason for Africa not to jump on the bandwagon.”Another part of mobile gaming’s appeal over other platforms in Africa is that it consumes less data, which can be slow or costly.“In Nigeria, they even get games pre-loaded on the phones because data is so expensive,” said Evan Greenwood, 37, the director of South Africa’s leading computer game studio Free Lives.“There’s the potential (in Africa) — but data has to get cheaper and the right games have to be made.”Invasion Day will be free to download, but players must purchase upgrades from within the game.Spreckley hopes Invasion Day will catch the eye of a major investor, but many African mobile games developers have struggled to turn their creations into cash.   ‘In more people’s hands’Ivory Coast’s Point Point, based on a traditional children’s game played using paper, and Madagascar’s Gazkar, a racing game featuring the island’s ubiquitous Citroen 2CV, have proved popular with mobile gamers — though not readily profitable.But Google’s decision in June to allow games developers from African countries including Nigeria, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Tanzania to make money from their creations sold on its Play store could revolutionise the sector.“Most people use (Google) Android here,” said Sithe Ncube, 24, the founder of Zambia’s Ubongo Game Lab.“People haven’t had a way to monetise their mobile games. People have actually been developing apps for a while but there hasn’t been a way to use it as a business model,” said Ncube who wore a spiked choker and had a streak of bright purple in her dark hair.“If Google Play can let us do that, then that’s a good platform for people to start on.”In 2017, accountants PwC said “revenues for console and PC games will lose market share to social (and) casual gaming” like that offered on handheld devices.Africa’s video game industry, currently worth US$310 million, would be worth US$642 million by 2021, the firm added.Spreckley said that choosing the mobile support for his game would mean “we can get it in more people’s hands quicker”.“You’re not reliant on people buying big expensive consoles and then products off the shelf.” — AFP [...]
Bye bye, home button: Apple gives new iPhones edge-to-edge screens
First the headphone jack, now the home button: Apple is saying goodbye to classic hardware elements to make room for new design features, like an edge-to-edge screen that is now available even in cheaper models. [...]
Coromandel screens inspire Chanel’s new high jewellery collection
‘Horizon Lointain’ plastron necklace in yellow gold, platinum, diamonds and mother of pearl from the Chanel ‘Coromandel’ high jewellery collection. — AFP pic PARIS, July 10 — French fashion house Chanel presented a new high jewellery collection alongside the haute couture fashion shows in Paris (July 1-5). This season’s collection is inspired by the designer Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s love of Coromandel lacquered screens. The poetic universe of these Chinese “objets d’art” and the techniques used to make them gives rise to a high jewellery collection featuring over 50 pieces.A focal point of the designer’s Parisian apartment at 31 rue Cambon, Coromandel screens, dating notably from the 17th and 18th centuries, were both an obsession and lifelong infatuation for Gabrielle Chanel, from 1910 onwards. These decorative panels showcasing Chinese art have now inspired an entire high jewellery collection with poetic, delicate and creative designs.Even more than the motifs, which include Coromandel landscapes, it is the Chinese lacquers used to create screens, among other items, that inspire this exceptional collection. Their colour palette and rich shine are channelled via several pieces in this “Coromandel” high jewellery line.Colours and gemstones shineThe Chanel Coromandel collection includes no less than 59 creations, including 24 unique pieces, and has three main themes: Floral, animal and mineral. The floral theme evokes Gabrielle Chanel’s favourite flower, the camellia, while the animal theme is inspired by the bestiary of Coromandel, and the mineral theme focuses on crystals and gemstones.Collection highlights include a plastron necklace from the “Horizon Lointain” set — evoking a Coromandel landscape in yellow gold, mother of pearl and diamonds — as well as a reversible cuff, nodding to the geometric structure of the screens, featuring a pivoting yellow diamond. A bracelet in yellow gold, platinum, green and blue lacquer, mother of pearl and diamonds also stands out.As for stones, this season Chanel has particularly made use of tsavorite garnets, emeralds, tourmalines, spinels, rubies, pink sapphires and — of course — diamonds. — AFP-Relaxnews [...]
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