Igniting the Spark – Building the Video Game Industry in Africa

Choosing to be a game dev may be the path less travelled, but it’s also a path of incredible sights and sounds. When it comes to pursuing a long journey in this field, there’s no one better to talk to than Emmanuel Yao, our Associate Director and Ubisoft veteran of 17 years!


Originally from Cote d’Ivoire, Emmanuel Yao’s career brought him to Montreal and Shanghai before he settled in Singapore. Today, he leads a close-knit team of more than 50 and has a big dream – to support the rapidly growing video game industry in the place he started – Africa!


Emma first expressed his interest back in 2017, sharing with France 24 (an international news network) that he wished to give back to Africa through initiatives in education and mentorship. “I saw a lot of opportunities for the video game market, and that reinforced my desire to do more to help grow the ecosystem in Africa,” he says. “Video games have a huge potential in Africa and as with everything, it all starts with education.”


In the years that followed, he began to represent Ubisoft in various initiatives such as the first ever edition of Africa Games Week, Africa Games Developers community and most recently, the African Games Coproduction Market and FEJA 5. “I was really impressed by the dynamic indies and the ongoing initiatives to show people in the region that video games can be a viable and meaningful career option,” Emma recalls. “Their motivation to do something different in their lives through the videos game had a really big impact on me.”


“Video games have a huge potential in Africa and as with everything, it all starts with education.”

Today, his efforts have earned him a well-deserved nomination in the GI 100, Game Changers 2021 list. In the Ubisoft network, Emma maintains an internal platform with happenings from the African game industry and takes an active role in supporting their developers by connecting them with video game professionals for collaboration opportunities.


As part of our Global B.E.A.U. Employee Resource Group (ERG), Emma also shares the common goal in creating a culture of inclusion where every team member can bring their authentic self to work. “Our mission is to enrich players’ lives, so I believe having culturally diverse voices will bring strong creativity and innovative gaming experiences.” he says. “Everyone needs to support new voices in our industry as they bring their own memorable gaming experiences.”

“Everyone needs to support new voices in our industry as they bring their own memorable gaming experiences.”

We are incredibly proud of Emma for leading by example, embodying the spirit of innovation and inspiring others around the world. Whether it’s supporting aspiring devs or growing the local ecosystems, people like Emma understand that games are a universal language that brings people together. And if you’re keen to learn how to speak it, get started on your journey at Ubisoft Singapore here!

 

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