Business & Tech


Gamsole is a Nigerian mobile game company that provides production, animation and interactive content on android, window and java platforms. The company creates commercial and short animated stories, as well as interactive content used in advertising and feature length productions.
Gamsole was founded in 2012 by Abiola Olaniran, a graduate from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile –Ife, Nigeria with a degree in Computer Science and Mathematics and a concentration in mobile gaming applications development. The idea to form Gamsole was progressive and began when Abiola won the Microsoft Imagine Cup in 2010, and went on to represent Nigeria at the World Finals. At that time, Microsoft announced the launch of its Windows Phone platform, which Abiola took the opportunity to learn the platform. Upon returning to Nigeria, he participated and won other challenges, including the Samsung Developer Challenge winning in the game and edutainment category. This further solidified his idea to start Gamsole. Therefore, as a Google Student Ambassador, he pitched his idea to 88mph, an organization that invests in tech startups that rely on internet access via mobile phone and target the African market. He got picked to go into their Accelerator Program which led to the induction of Gamesole after the conclusion of the program. Following its initial success, Gamsole received additional grant from Microsoft through its Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative, which further helped spur the company’s growth.

Product and Services

In its first 6 months of business, Gamsole was an instant hit with about 3 million downloads and presently, more than 10 million downloads. The company sets out to produce unique content that share African experiences with locals and international community through African narratives, relatable characters and familiar sounds. Gidi Run is a game set in downtown Lagos that features the typical bribe-collecting cop, loud bus conductors and crazy drivers. Similar to the likes of Temple Run and Subway Surfer, Gidi Runs’ quality 3D graphics explores a richer experience with unique and better developed in-game characters, which all have distinct personalities and a rich spectrum of expressions. Here are some other games developed by Gamsole:

Sweet Candy Crossy Bird Roundy Monsters
Monster Ninja Sweet Paradise Free Roll
Ninja Jump Danfo Hustle Timberman
Gravity Knight Toon Jump Toy Rush
Furious Birds Street Boy Millionaire Fine Birds
Dudu Jump Mama Put Candy Hunter
Drag Racing Gidi Run Juice Maker

The Market

The huge expense of game consoles in Nigeria creates a small market for video gaming for the few active game developing startups. However, the country has a fast growing mobile market, which has created a shift from the video gaming sector to browser and smartphone applications. Cheaper and faster mobile broadband access helped spread the popularity of mobile games among Nigeria’s young populace of which more than 60% are under 25 years old; a potentially large market for video and mobile gaming products.

Nigeria is reported to have the world’s third fastest growing mobile internet usage, behind China and India, while Africa as a whole, leads with more than 650 million mobile-phone subscribers. More than 20% of those subscribers own smartphones on Android-based operation systems, which is actually a challenge for the few local developers in Nigeria and Africa because Google Play store is filled with millions of North American and European applications available to the African market. Despite that, Gamsole decided to work on the newly launched Windows Phone platform, being one of the first developers for the platform and subsequently gaining significant market share. Over time, as the platform gradually gained popularity, Gamsole products grew as well, and the company found its niche.

Gamsole did not constrain its products just to the Nigerian market, but sought to develop mobile games for the world, drawing inspiration from games such Candy Crush and Angry Birds to design content for foreign consumers as well.

Notable local competitors in the mobile gaming market include Kuluya and Maliyo Games, both of which are based in Lagos as well and together were considered the significant game developers in Africa in 2013. Their businesses are spread from Lagos to Nairobi Kenya, which besides Lagos, is considered a major technology center in Africa with remarkable growth.

Business Model

The dominant business model for mobile gaming applications in the African market is tailored to browser games reformatted for low-end cell phones. Gamsole monetizes its mobile games mainly through in-app advertisements on the Windows Phone platform. Very little marketing is done, as a large percentage of downloads is down to deep market penetration, especially in regions where Windows Phone platform is dominant. Monetization through in-app purchases and the use of virtual currency hasn’t been a success here unlike in western gaming markets.

234 Impact

Gamsole has established itself as one of the most active mobile gaming companies in Nigeria. Its games recreate experiences of African adventure, narrated in an African voice. The company’s customer base stretches across 24 countries with more than 25% of its 10 million downloads coming from Latin America. Since its inception, Gamsole has provided jobs to lots of talented graphic designers, application developers and many other outstanding individuals in the technology industry in Nigeria and across Africa. Partnerships with Microsoft and other top technology companies supply Gamsole with the financial tools and human talent necessary to break new grounds in Africa’s gaming industry.