I met Nousra, at the Dakar Digital Show, last December in Senegal. We were both taking part in a panel discussion on gaming in Africa. Nousra’s joie-de-vivre and calm demeanour are attractive. Nousra and I talked about different topics as we are both French emigrates. We also happen to notice the lack of women “like us” in the games industry.
I recently caught up with Nousra, and she was happy to take part in the initiative to highlight black women in the gaming industry positively.
My Name is Nousra Soulaimana. I’m from Comoros with French nationality, and I’m a Senior Sales Account Manager at Gameloft Africa. We make games for everyone no matter the genre, the country or the device they use.
How did you get into the video games industry?
As far as I remember, I’ve always loved the “geek world” (the new techs, the comics, the anime, and the videos games).
The only thing is that, as a mediocre student, I wasn’t allowed to play as much as I wished I could.
By luck, when I got my master’s degree, Gameloft offered me an international opportunity to travel around Africa to sale our games.
My dream came true: being able to sale a product I believe in while fulfilling my passion for travel.
What is your perception of the African video game industry? What is it your vision regarding female gamers?
When we think of video gaming, we believe nerds, geeks. The first image that comes to mind is a male teenager going through puberty. But the reality is different; the numbers are different.
First, in 2019 Newzoo counted 2.5billions gamers worldwide. (1/3 of the global population)
Newzoo has also revealed that over 46% of gaming enthusiasts are women. That’s perhaps as many as one billion women interested in games.
BUT, if you ask the vast majority of those women if they are gamers, the chances are that they will reply no. No mostly because, they don’t label themselves as gamers, nerd or geek while still loving the industry.
In Africa, the tendency is still the same and even worst.
If you ask young people (boys & girls) if they are gamers, the vast majority will say no because they don’t have a laptop or a console at home, so they are not “real gamers”, when in fact they spend time in front of their mobile phone playing various games.
In some areas, phones are the only link to the rest of the world and the only way to get access to entertainment. In those areas, you can even see some grannies playing games, but this is not the kind of stories people will often hear.
The democratization of the video games industry happens thanks to smartphones & video games provided through it. Gameloft played its part by being the first company to provide six games into the 1st App store.
A new category of gamers was since born: casual gamers. They now need to own their label worldwide, especially women.
Any words of advice for anyone looking to be part of the games industry today?
First, if you are a casual gamer, assume the label, play with it and band yourself with it.
Second, share your story. We need more visibility from people from a diverse background.
When we think of the gaming industry, we always focus on the development of the games (designers, developers), when in fact you can be a legal counsel, an accountant, a great storyteller.
The video game industry in its life cycle is still under growth & already represent hundreds of billion dollars. It is not just a hobby anymore. It is a real industry that is structuring itself a little more every day. So everyone or any type of corporation can play a part in this industry.
You can contact Nousra on Twitter: @Snousra