It is not always fun for the gaming industry in Uganda

Tuesday January 10 2023

A practical session during the 2022 DigiArt Fest in Kampala. The digital art industry in Uganda is showing signs of growth. PHOTO | POOL


Uganda’s first professional gaming and e-sports brand, Arudem created by a group of young gamers, is now revolutionising the industry.

Arudem, created in 2019, is currently being run by 10 individuals, who have managed to build a gaming community of about 5,000 people across the world. “We have received positive feedback from our gaming community,” Arudem founder and team lead, Ivan Kibuuka told The EastAfrican.

The most popular online video games are “Call of Duty: Warzone” , “Fortnite” and “Apex” because they give gamers a sense of being in a community, Kibuuka said. First-person shooter games like “Halo Battlefield” and “Call of Duty Multiplayer” are also popular.

Kibuuka said they will launch the Arudem Hangout in 2023 at Fast Sports Fusion within the Design Hub on 5th Street, Industrial Area in Kampala. “The hangout will be a place where our community members can stream, play and learn about professional gaming. ''We also plan to run a few community-building activities mainly workshops on animation, graphics design and other segments in the creative industry.

Although the digital art industry in Uganda is showing signs of growth it is still dogged by a number challenges that include lack of skilled labour, funding and data. Those employed in the industry include illustrators, animators, video game developers, graphic and motion designers, coders, videographers, photographers and musicians.

“Funding and exposure are the greatest challenges facing the industry,” Laurean Ntaate, the founder of Tribe Uganda, a creatives' guild association told The EastAfrican.


“There is still less appreciation for digital artists, so their projects get little funding,” said David Mugabo, an animator, graphic and motion designer.

According to Mugabo, who is the founding director of the Olijinz Studios in Kampala, there are few creatives, who are talented and experienced that one can team up in Uganda.

“The market is still small because the audience doesn't understand the power and influence animation.

''Some creatives lack finances for their projects. For example, the cost of producing animation for advertisements and films is higher and takes a long time to produce,” Mugabo said.

On his part digital and comic books artist and founder of Kab Comics, Brian Humura, said: “The biggest challenge facing the comic books industry is lack of skilled workers.

''There are other challenges but they seem to be reducing every year because more people have started to use comic books as an option for storytelling and communications.”

The other challenge is that this industry is still male-dominated.

As to how women can be encouraged to join this sector, Ntaate, said: “This can happen by creating tailored projects that involve the feminine gender, and encouraging partnerships with women based organisations will attract more ladies to the industry. This can also happen by including digital art as a curriculum in early school.”

“It is true that few women are involved in the digital arts. It’s up to us and other women in the industry to encourage our peers to join by doing more training and provide employment opportunities," Humura said.