The gaming industry is bigger than the film industry - Laurean Ntaate

Laurean Ntaate. Photo/Courtesy

What you need to know:

I founded it in 2017 and we started with very few studios in Kampala that do comics and animations. Later on, in 2019, we had a video game fraternity on board. It is still a small but growing market

Laurean Ntaate is business developer, co-founder at Wuzi Africa and a marketer by profession. He is also the founder of Tribe Uganda collective, doing comics, animations, video games, and human centre designs among others. Besides that, he also organizes the DigiArt Fest which will be happening this weekend at Acacia Mall. Isaac Ssejjombwe catches up with him for more details. 

Tell us about the Digiart Fest.

It is an event where lovers of pop culture get together to celebrate pop culture. Pop culture in this sense is comics, animation, video games, films, etc. but in our case, it is comics, animations, and video games that are all Ugandan.

When did you start the DigiArt Fest?

I founded it in 2017 and we started with very few studios in Kampala that do comics and animations. Later on, in 2019, we had a video game fraternity on board. It is still a small but growing market. With all the technology and skills needed in this field, we are glad that Ugandans can now do these things. We are now competing on a global level with the Americans, Japanese and Chinese.

How would you rate the gaming industry?

The gaming industry is by far bigger than the movie industry times three worldwide. It earns more revenue than the movie industry more than you can ever imagine although we don’t have much of an impact yet.

What is the programme of the event to be like?

We have quite a lot of panel discussions with seven topics to discuss from people across the world who are illustrators, animators, content developers, and stakeholders around the echo system. We shall then have the game jam, an event that attracts video game developers from across the world to develop a game in 24 or 72 hours with judges choosing the best concept. We have several workshops, masterclasses, podcasts, video game tournaments, course play competitions, and exhibitions among other things. There will be cash prizes for several winners in different competitions.

Where is the DigiArt Fest going to take place and how much is the entrance fee?

It is going to be both virtual and physical and it’s a two-day event happening December 16 and 17. The physical event is happening at Acacia mall while the virtual one is on our website tribe.ug

We have been having it virtually on the website for the past two years because of Covid and we realized we had a very big number of guests that tuned in. The last edition had over 5,000 people. The entrance fee is 15,000 each day.

Where did this idea of the festival come from?

We needed a platform where we could showcase our content after the establishment of Tribe Uganda. It is a platform where we come together to celebrate, discover ourselves, and learn about digital art.

Back in 2017 during our first edition, for 2 days, we had a total of 500 attendees and we were so excited. Last year 5,000 people attended which means there is progress and are cultivating the grounds for the art sector.

What challenges are you facing with the event?

Well, there are quite several challenges, first, I don’t have sponsors so I foot all bills for the festival. From lighting, stage, sound, etc. secondly, we are unknown to so many people which only means that Uganda still doesn’t know the value of this industry.

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