Carry1st, the continent’s leading publisher of games and digital content, has acquired Gebeta, the product of Qene Games. Released in 2019, Gebeta is a mobile board game built on the mancala games principles, but more engaging.
The game quickly gained high engagement, and with its quality visuals, it stood out from most others, winning the 2020 AppsAfrica Best App of the Year award.
“We are thrilled to acquire Gebeta, one of the most promising free-to-play mobile games out of Africa. Mancala is culturally deeply rooted across frontier markets, and Gebeta’s modern reinterpretation lays the foundation for what we believe will become a marquee mobile game in Africa and around the world,” said Cordel Robbin-Coker, Co-Founder and CEO of Carry1st.
Carry1st initially entered into a global multi-year partnership with the Ethiopia-based developer, to publish Gebeta in November 2020. Carry1st’s capabilities in handling the game would enhance its development and success as an African-made game.
Conversations about the acquisition began earlier in the partnership when both companies saw the opportunity for mutual profit, and deeper considerations led to the conclusion that it would facilitate a successful mission.
The creator of Kukulu, Gebeta, Feta, and Tras mobile games, Qene Games, is the first game development studio in Ethiopia.
The venture-backed startup aims to develop gaming capacity on the African continent by mentoring, recruiting, and upskilling African game developers.
“This acquisition is a significant milestone for Qene Games, as it validates the hard work and dedication of our team in creating fun and engaging games. It also opens up new opportunities for us to expand our reach and connect with a larger audience,” said Dawit Abraham, Founder of Qene Games.
“We see this as a stepping stone for further collaborations with Carry1st, and we look forward to exploring new possibilities and opportunities for growth in the gaming industry together,” Dawit added.
The acquisition provides Qene Games with its first exit of a game, a long-term royalty, and a great validation of the quality of its products. It also allows the company to focus more on expanding its library and growing its platform.
Qene Games will continue working with Carry1st on the growth and development of Gebeta to reach its full potential, but in a much more limited capacity, and will also handle the publishing of the game in its original market of Ethiopia.
The developer has been making waves as a pan-African game studio by launching a fun and premium quality mobile games, including the recently launched Kinet, a unique platform for game monetization in Africa, offering subscriptions, esports tournaments, in-app purchases, and ads.
Qene Games is now focusing on using Kinet to help other African game creators monetize their games and expand its own library with engaging and entertaining games. Additionally, the gaming company is looking to establish larger partnerships with various technology providers in the African gaming industry to further expand its role in the scene.
Carry1st plans to significantly increase the resources dedicated to developing Gebeta and preparing it for a global launch. The company foresees Gebeta becoming one of the most recognizable Mancala titles available on the market.
Operating at the intersection of games, fintech, and web3, its mission is to scale awesome content in frontier markets by solving hard problems, Carry1st develops, licenses, and publishes games and monetizes them effectively with Pay1st, proprietary payments, and an online marketplace to better monetize content in the region. The company has scaled games such as Call of Duty®: Mobile, Mine Rescue, and SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off. Founded in 2018, the company is backed by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), BITKRAFT, Google, and Riot Games.