Kenyans Playing Video Games at Pro Level Get Global Attention

Pro-gamers 'Queen Arrow' Slyvia Gathoni (left) and 'The Beast' Brian Diang'a(right)
Pro-gamers 'Queen Arrow' Slyvia Gathoni (left) and 'The Beast' Brian Diang'a(right)

Kenyan gamers Sylvia Gathoni and Brian Diang'a have put the country on the global map, owing to their prowess in esports. 

Gathoni, otherwise known as Queen Arrowis among the pioneer female professional gamers in the country who have curved their own niche in the male-dominated industry. 

She got into professional gaming in 2017 where she participated in the Mortal Kombat Gaming that was held at the East African Gaming Convention at the Two Rivers Mall where she came in fourth, further bolstering her love for esports.

An image of gaming
A video gamer playing on his Personal Computer.

Her passion led her to be signed to UYU, a major esports company, which she terms as one of the best in the gaming community.

"When I held a controller in my hand for the first time in my life, I just felt happy, that's the best emotion I can attribute to," she stated in an interview with an international TV channel in 2019.

The Catholic University Law student represented Kenya in Johannesburg, South Africa in September this year in the Red Bull's "Hit The Street'' tournament.

Diang'a, known by his pseudo name The Beast, started his gaming journey in 2015 where he participated in a Mortal Kombat tournament and came in third.

This pushed him to enhance his skill, spending countless hours on YouTube watching tutorials and tournaments to finetune his gaming fundamentals. 

The Kibera-raised player has bagged sponsorship from major esports companies that include Pro Series Gaming(PSG) and Deez Gaming in Japan.

The 29-year old gamer has attracted international attention from major media houses such as CNN, Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbu and the Africa Business publication.

Diang’a spoke about growing up in Kibera, “If it wasn't for gaming, I wouldn't be here today. I choose gaming instead of crime and all those other things,” he told CNN International’s Inside Africa programme.

This has propelled the country's rank among international players as of 2019, Kenya was ranked the eighth most popular gaming hub in Africa due to its commercialization, with the local market projected to reach Ksh13 billion in 2022.

Kenya's high internet penetration and fast adoption of technology have given the country her reputable status in the global arena with youth investing their time to enhance their skill, as the growth of the industry now offers them an opportunity to pursue gaming as a career.

This has seen the involvement of large companies such as Safaricom and Red Bull through endorsements and the organization of tournaments to tap into the potential of the sport.

Gamers participating in electronic sports
Gamers participating in electronic sports