South African gaming startup “Carry1st” receives Sony investment

South African gaming startup “Carry1st” receives Sony investment

Carry1st is a video game studio in Cape Town, South Africa. Through its Sony Innovation Fund venture arm, Sony has put an undisclosed amount of money into the company. The deal is a smart investment that will allow the two businesses to work together on many business opportunities. These two businesses are just now starting to “explore” working together. Corel Robbin-Coker, CEO and co-founder of the company, said that talks with the Sony Innovation Fund began about eight to nine months ago. He told the company that makes PlayStations that Africa is the next big place where video games will grow.

Sony’s Strategic Investment in Carry1st

Sony is entering a new gaming market that has a lot of room to grow quickly. Sub-Saharan Africa’s gaming industry is expected to generate over $1 billion for the first time in 2024, according to research from Carry1st and venture capital firm Konvoy. Many gamers in Africa are buying consoles on “gray” markets, in other words, from vendors who’ve imported consoles from overseas to resell them locally.

One part of Carry1st’s deal with Sony was to help the entertainment and games giant grow PlayStation’s presence in Africa. Sony thought it would sell a record 25 million PlayStation 5s in its fiscal year of 2024. This would be the best year ever for a PlayStation console. Sony’s bet with its stake in Carry1st is that Africa will be the next major market to drive growth in PS5 sales.

New Carry1st service: “Pay1st”

Carry1st’s localized payment service “Pay1st” allows African gamers to buy games using local infrastructure, bank accounts, and payment methods including M-Pesa and mobile wallets. Game makers can monetize their games on Carry1st, the company’s online marketplace for games and add-on content. It currently only makes and scales games for other clients, like Activision, but is now planning to develop its own original titles this year, with development underway on three new games.

First African Investment Excites Sony Ventures

Sony’s investment in Carry1st marks the first financial commitment of its new flagship African venture fund, Sony Innovation Fund: Africa, which launched in October 2023 to invest in early-stage startups in Africa’s entertainment industry. Sony Ventures Corporate, Sony’s venture arm, allocated an initial $10 million to its Africa fund. Antonio Avitabile, managing director for EMEA at Sony Ventures Corporation, said in a statement that they are excited to welcome the company as their first investment in Africa.

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