About Make Games Africa!
Make Games Africa! is a 2-day b2b conference event, offering an opportunity for African game developers to connect with their peers and grow their network. There will be a variety of talks and workshops on offer featuring prominent international and local speakers, focusing on topics from getting your studio investor or publisher ready, to how to hustle on the international stage from Africa (and on an African Budget).
Make Games Africa! will present its delegates with an opportunity to get access to content and connections that are typically difficult to establish without going to the major international trade shows. While cognizant that that the continents developers participate in an international market, we also recognise that not all the information available is relevant to our situation, as such we are also presenting a variety of talks that speak to the realities of developing games and running a business from the global south.
Kate Edwards is the CEO and principal consultant of Geogrify, a consultancy for content culturalization, a Board Member of Take This, and is the former Executive Director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) from 2012 to 2017. In addition to being an outspoken advocate who serves in several advisory/board roles, she is a geographer, writer, and corporate strategist. Following 13 years at Microsoft, she has consulted on many game and non-game projects for BioWare, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and many other companies. Fortune magazine named her as one of the “10 most powerful women” in the game industry and she was named by GamesIndustry.biz as one of their six People of the Year. In April 2018, she was honored with Reboot Develop’s annual Hero Award, and is profiled in the November 2018 publication Women in Gaming: 100 Pioneers of Play.
Sithe Ncube co-founded a maker community and a game development community in her home country, Zambia. She is also a Computer Science and Mathematics student at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. She is currently the Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Organiser for the Global Game Jam and is working on getting more African locations to be a part of the worlds largest game development event. She is also an assistant program manager for the interactive arts and playful media festival, A MAZE. / Berlin and program manager for the associated festival A MAZE. / Johannesburg.
Commercial Manager, Developer Relations, Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe
John Vega has worked in Video Games for over 15 years and is currently Commercial Manager at PlayStation on the platform holder’s Developer Relations team, where he looks after many accounts and works with developers to self-publish on the platform. Prior to that, John started his career in QA and worked his way up to leading the QA team at PlayJam before transitioning to Developer Relations. In 2016 John joined Curve Digital as Business Development Manager, where he was responsible for signing some of the firm’s biggest hits, including The Flame in the Flood and Bomber Crew – the latter of which earned $1m in its first week.
Ben Myres is co-founder and Creative Director of Johannesburg-based games studio, Nyamakop. They just released the ‘first true plat-former’, Semblance, which received international critical success with outlets like Destructoid calling it a “hallmark of excellence”. Ben was programme manager of A MAZE. / Johannesburg, and co-curated, Africade, the first gallery exhibition to focus solely on African video games. Myres has spoken all over the world including events like GDC; Indicade; BIG Festival, and A MAZE. / Berlin, and was named one of Forbes Africa’s ’30 under 30′ for 2018.
Jason Della Rocca
Jason Della Rocca is a game industry entrepreneur, funding advisor, and cluster expert. He specializes in business/partnership development, pitching/funding, and ecosystem/cluster development. As the co-founder of Executions Labs, he is a hands-on early stage investor to over 20 independent game studios from North America and Europe. Between 2000-09 he served as the executive director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), and was honored for his industry building efforts with the inaugural Ambassador Award at the Game Developers Conference. In 2009, Jason was named to Game Developer Magazine’s “Power50,” a list which profiles 50 of the most important contributors to the state of the game industry. As a sought after expert on the game industry, Jason has lectured at conferences and universities worldwide.
Still surprised that she can call herself ‘award-winning,’ Cassandra has written words for games like Wasteland 3 and Sunless Skies, done business development, frantically penned breaking news, and once sold fish for a day because no one told her what the job entailed.
Hanli Geyser is Head of Division of the Digital Arts Division at the University of the Witwatersrand
Hanli developed the Game Design Programs at Wits which kicked off in February 2012, as well as the
BA in Digital Arts. These programs provide an introduction to the technical, conceptual and critical
foundations needed for students wishing to enter the field of practice which merges technology and
She graduated with an MA in History of Art from Wits in 2008. Extending her interest in arts and
education into the digital realm her Ph.D., investigates the pedagogic frameworks for teaching game
design in a South African context, with a specific focus of Curriculum Transformation.
Ciro joined Unity as Technical Evangelist for the EMEA region after years of developing games at his own company. He travels from conference to conference, spreading the word about Unity. His role involves showcasing new features and advocating good development practices, but you’ll also hear a lot about game design along the way. Combined with his passion for teaching and education, his soft spot for design makes game jams his natural habitat.
Sidick Bakayoko is a technology professional with more than 10 years of experience in the areas of marketing and product development of mobile solutions.
Sidick is the Founder and CEO of Paradise Game, an Ivorian company that aims at transforming the video game industry in Africa. Paradise Game is a leading eSport franchise in West Africa offering premier gaming Events and Festivals, high-end Gaming and eLearning center, as well as multimedia and promotions.
Earlier in his career, he led the sales and marketing efforts of mobile value added service provider DIGITAL AFRIQUE TELECOM (DAT) in 27 African countries, delivering several challenging multimillion-dollar projects from start to finish. He also led the marketing efforts of the revolutionary mobile application CLICKOVA alongside SCANBUY founder Olivier Attia. The application was in 2007, an innovation in the space for seamlessly backing up contacts, pictures and videos over wireless networks. He holds an Electronics and Computer Engineering Degree from the New York Institute of Technology in the USA and participated in the Stanford University SEED program.
Shaz Strauss is the Producer and Managing Director for Free Lives, an indie game development studio based in Cape Town founded by Owner & Creative Director, Evan Greenwood. Together with the team, she’s successfully produced and launched Broforce (+1.5 million units sold), the Expendabros movie spin off (+2 million downloads), and Genital Jousting (370k units sold). Their first VR game, GORN, is still in Steam Early Access (150k units sold), and they are wrapping up a new mobile game, Cricket Through The Ages, for launch later this year. Shaz has been with Free Lives since the start of 2013, with a team of 5, to today, with 18 permanent team members. She’s also produced & directed over 50 videos for the studio’s various series, including Dev Logs, Game Jam Island 1 & 2, Design Talks and some of their games’ trailers.
Partner Development Manager, Google Play
Romain manages top game developers from Central and Eastern Europe, including Playrix and Wargaming.
Alexandrina Agloro is a media artist, community-based researcher, and doula who believes in the possibilities of the decolonial imaginary using ancestral technologies as liberatory tools. She is an Assistant Professor of Science, Technology, and Innovation in the Borderlands at the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University (USA) and a Director of Situated Critical Race and Media (SCRAM). Alexandrina is currently writing a book on global participatory game design in communities of colour in South Africa and the United States. Her most recent game, The Resisters, was an alternate reality game she designed through participatory research with young people of colour about local social movement history.