Sony’s Strategic Investment in Carry1st Explores Gaming Growth Opportunities

Sony's Strategic Investment in Carry1st
Sony's Strategic Investment in Carry1st

Sony’s Strategic Investment in Carry1st

Sony, the Japanese electronics and gaming powerhouse, is placing a significant bet on Africa’s burgeoning video game industry through Sony’s Strategic Investment in Carry1st, a leading video game studio based in Cape Town, South Africa.

Sony’s Strategic Investment in Carry1st

In an exclusive disclosure to CNBC, Carry1st revealed that Sony has invested an undisclosed sum through its Sony Innovation Fund venture arm. This bold move signifies a pivotal partnership, still in its early stages, aimed at exploring various commercial opportunities.

Cordel Robbin-Coker, CEO and co-founder of Carry1st, initiated discussions with the Sony Innovation Fund nearly eight to nine months ago. His pitch to the PlayStation giant emphasized Africa as the next frontier for substantial growth in the video game market.

Africa: The Untapped Gaming Market

Robbin-Coker asserts that Africa presents an underrated console opportunity, pointing to countries like Nigeria, Morocco, and Algeria, where console adoption is rapidly on the rise. With Sub-Saharan Africa’s gaming industry expected to surpass $1 billion in 2024, according to research from Carry1st and Konvoy, Sony is positioning itself in a market with immense growth potential.

Expanding PlayStation’s Presence in Africa

One facet of the Sony-Carry1st partnership revolves around amplifying PlayStation’s footprint in Africa. Sony’s ambitious projection of selling 25 million PlayStation 5 units in its 2023 fiscal year aligns with the belief that Africa will be a pivotal market driving PS5 sales growth.

Carry1st aims to support Sony in expanding its reach in the region, employing diverse go-to-market strategies and facilitating digital payments. As console business models shift towards online experiences, Carry1st’s localized payment service, Pay1st, enables African gamers to make purchases using local infrastructure and payment methods.

Original Games and Growth

Founded in 2018, Carry1st specializes in developing social and casual puzzle-based mobile games tailored for the African audience. While the company has primarily scaled games for clients like Activision, it is now venturing into developing its own original titles, with three new games in the pipeline and a debut first-party game expected in 2024.

Despite being an early-stage startup, Carry1st has witnessed remarkable growth, reporting nearly ninefold revenue increase between 2021 and 2023. The company collaborates with industry giants like Activision, Supercell, and Riot Games to introduce popular Western game franchises to the African market.

Sony Innovation Fund: Africa

Sony‘s investment in Carry1st represents the inaugural financial commitment of its flagship African venture fund, Sony Innovation Fund: Africa, launched in October 2023. With an initial allocation of $10 million, the fund focuses on supporting early-stage startups in Africa’s entertainment industry.

Carry1st’s impressive list of venture backers includes renowned names such as Andreessen Horowitz, Bitkraft Ventures, Google, Riot Games, and rapper Nas, contributing a total of $60 million in funding to date.

In conclusion, Sony’s strategic partnership with Carry1st underscores the recognition of Africa as a vital player in the global gaming landscape, marking the beginning of an exciting journey toward unlocking the continent’s gaming potential.