How we worship video games without even knowing

Computer-Game-CenterMr Caino twice ended his relationship because he was put on the spot of choosing between love and game consoles, surprisingly, he chose gaming.

“I am an addict…they got to understand that you don’t make a brother choose between his toys and your touch,” were his words.

The love for video games has over the years evolved from generation to generations. From the years of Atari by Atari, Inc; Nintendo’s Famicom; Sega’s Sega Mega Drive; to Nintendo’s Game Cube; Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s XBox.

What started out as a device for the young in heart, has now become a leisure platform for those in their 20s, and sometimes 30s depending on individuals.

These days people between the ages of 10 – at least 25 years, are actively seen engaging themselves in the act of competing against each other via gaming consoles.

In August 2013, Sony announced the placement of over a million pre-orders for the console before it was released. In the UK, the PlayStation 4 (PS4) became the best-selling console at launch, with the sale of 250,000 consoles within a 48-hour period. On November 22, 2013, Microsoft confirmed that it had sold one million Xbox One consoles within its first 24 hours of being available.

Also in December 2013, when the PS4 went on sale at a slashed price – Fall Yakata Christmas Sale – by an online store in Nigeria, it was sold out within minutes. The website reportedly crashed due to a traffic surge.

Arcade centres at Leisure Mall (Surulere, Lagos), Play Zone (Ikeja City Mall, Lagos) or E-Centre (Sabo-Yaba, Lagos) are places where you will find video gamers spend as much as N1,000 – N2,000/day on video games. These gamers also spend at least 2-3 hours of their time on these games.

Daniel, a 15 year-old who was at Play Zone said he spends at least N2,000 each time he came to play the PlayStation 3 with his friends. He said he could spend more depending on the money he had on him.

Tolu, 20, said that he has spent as much as N5,000 a day on playing video games.

“When you start playing, you don’t want to stop, there’s this excitement felt within. But when you run out of money, that’s when you realized you have just spent so much on game,” he said.

Arcade centres may not be biting hard on the pockets of many now as they were in previous years, as a lot of people are now opportune to have these consoles at home. This is very unlike the mid and late 90’s when having a game console was not that easy. Game lovers had to patronize arcade centres to satisfy their gaming desires.

The Video-Gaming experiences
In the late 90’s there were few Malls with arcade centres, but they were pretty expensive. Students had to rely on the local game houses around them, were they spent almost half of their day and blew up all their money. Few years after, the number of individuals, who now own consoles, have increased notably.

Caino, the Co.Owner of East Boys Entertainment. Abuja, gives an account of his video gaming experience; “I started spending money renting games right from the brick game/golden light era. Went on to Gameboy, then on to Nintendo’s Famicom. I remember trying to save N1700 to buy my own Famicom; It took me 8 months to realize N600, so, I gave up. I got flogged a couple of times for staying out late.

“I managed to get my own Sega, but technology won’t let me be. They had to bring out the PlayStation (PS). I started renting! Finally, got my own PS, but I was punished with PlayStation 2 (PS2). And then, I discovered a studio that offered some cool Nintendo Wii gaming. That became my second home. One time, I spent N25,000 in two days, on both days I sat there from 9 am till 9:45 pm. On other occasions my costs were about N4,000 daily.
“I broke up twice with my girlfriends because I chose gaming over them. But they gotta understand…. You don’t make a brother choose between his toys and your touch.

“Anyway, all that’s gone now. Obi is a man now, and can afford his own toys. I usually have friends over for a gaming night with my PS4.”

David Femi, who works for a private firm in Lagos said; “I spent lot of cash while learning to play when I was growing up but not any more. But I still spend time playing games – 2 to 4hrs depending on how free I am. Back in school, I used to spend at least N1,000 daily for games.”

Females are not left out of the gaming world as Deborah Onabanjo, a graduate from Babcock University said; “I play video games on my PC and don’t see anything wrong with it, as most girls do. I like playing “NEED FOR SPEED”, “CALL OF DUTY”, and spend a maximum of 3-4 hours.”

“I have never spent money on game centres before because I buy consoles. Right from the days of Famicom, Sega Mega Drive, up to Play Station 3, I’ve bought them all,” Wunmi, a Yaba College of Technology graduate in Business Administration said. When asked the number of hours he spent on gaming, he said, “It depends on the game that I’m playing. If it’s God of War (GOW) it can take a whole day.”

Rilwan Adesegun, a writer said; “In Yoruba, there is an adage that says “owo ti omode ba kokori akara loma fin ra” which means; “the first money a child get he uses it to buy beans-cake” I used mine to play PlayStation One. I didn’t have specific hours for playing because I played until my money finished. Most times I’ll play four games and wait for one free game to balance it.”

“I spent quite a lot of money in game centres. For the record, I was the best Street Fighter (SF) player in the whole of UNIBEN till I left the school. Even till now, no one can try me in that game. When it comes to SF, I am the king. I could beat anyone with any character…I had no respect for the second opponent… I didn’t care about ladies at all. I was just having my fun…connecting multiple super combos into one glorious kill to get a reward of three meteors smashing into the ground when they the game screams K.O,” Emmanuel Edet, an IT support worker in Lagos, said.

Why are video games important to gamers?
To some people, video games may be a waste of time and for unserious minds, but to lovers of these consoles, it is a way of escaping the troubles of the world and ease themselves of daily stress. Some believe it’s a way of increasing one’s intelligent quotient (IQ).

“I guess they make me become smarter and more aware of my thinking skills. And gives me the opportunity to live in a world away from reality…Where I have total control of everything that happens to me,” Caino said.

“I play video games because it helps ease my mind from Nigeria’s problems, which is a better option than nicotine,” said Wunmi Okebukola.

“For the fun of it. Competing with friends and basically to taste a bit of new challenge,” was the opinion of Ojiako Kenechukwu, a student of the University of Lagos (UNILAG).

“It’s sort of escapism from the real world. Plus I have fun doing it,” said Tunde Apalowo, a film maker.

It is an established fact that if you want to capture the market with any product, your target should be the young minds. This is evident in the fact that although the children of yesterday have grown to be responsible adults of today, there’s still that soft spot for games in their heart, which Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are still capitalising on.

A good business
Running a Game Centre (locally) is arguably one of the most lucrative businesses in Nigeria, because the target market has young gamers who are passionate about video games and always want to compete against each other.

Football is no doubt the world’s most popular sport and fans all over the world follow the sport not only by watching, buying jerseys, betting and cheering but also by using their favourite teams on game consoles.

Felix, also known as Onile, runs a small game house in the heart of Lagos with the PS2 (two consoles), PS3 (one console) and Xbox (one console).

The arcade owner, who started the business four years ago, says that although some of the customers (most school children and adults mostly between the age of at most 18-25) have personal video game consoles at home, most of them still prefered to come to his centre, as it is a basis for competition among them.

Talking about the business opportunity, Felix said that he has more of the PlayStation because Nigerians are more acquainted with it than Microsoft’s Xbox. He charges customers N50 for the PS2, Xbox and N100 for the PS3 to play one game which lasts for 10 minutes.

Operating time for his games centre are from 10 am to 7 pm, sometimes 8 pm, depending on customers in his shop. (at least 9 hours).

He said the games mostly requested for is Football (ProEvolution, FIFA), while other customers loved playing Mortal Kombat, Street fighter and Car Racing.

On a good day, Onile makes N4,200 for the PS2s alone, N3,600 for PS3 and nothing less than N2,100 for the Xbox.

At the classy arcade centres, a game (Football – which is the most commonly played) costs as much as N500 for 10 minutes at Play Zone, while at Leisure mall and E-Centre its N200.

Purchasing these game consoles (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Wii U) cost between N75,000 – N80,000.

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Internet Bundles: When will Telecom providers listen to our cry?

If there’s anything Smartphone users other than Blackberry in Nigeria have complains about, it’s most definitely the cost of internet subscription.

Android and iOS users are not smiling
Android and iOS users are not smiling

Users of Android and iOS Smartphones have decried the unavailability of data plans that meet their daily internet needs; as major telecommunication networks in the country have internet plans that seem to be convenient for Blackberry users only.

Unlike Blackberry users who pay a minimum of N1 000 to have access to unlimited data plan – or 3gigabyte of data depending on the network – users of other Smartphones have had to struggle with what was described as “peanut” data by an Android user.

Looking at internet data plans in the same price range as that of Blackberry users; little will one wonder why the hash tag #androidUsersDemandFairness, garnered momentum some weeks ago on social media.  Android users took to twitter, to express their dissatisfaction concerning data plans made available by Telecoms providers.

For the price of N1 000, MTN offers 100MB with a bonus of 260MB; Glo – 260MB; Etisalat – 200MB; Airtel-200MB with 260MB bonus.

Data usage

Research by various groups has revealed that Blackberry smartphones use less data compared to others aforementioned.

According to a research by New Product Development (NPD) Group, iOS users burn an average of 1.12 gigabytes/month (over 37MB daily), while Android users consumed an average of 0.92 gigabytes monthly (over 30MB per day).

Also, a report released by the largest independent software provider in mobile optimization, Actix , stated that BlackBerry users consume about 50% less data than Android and iOS counterparts.

Going by the statistics, Smartphone users other than Blackberry will have to spend more if they are to keep up with the internet demands of their Smartphone.

Nuhu Muhammed, an Android user said; “I paid for 260MB but within two weeks, I got a message from Etisalat that the data bundle had been used up. This is a data plan that was supposed to last for a month”.

“I pay N2 000 for 500MB on Etisalat but I tend to use up my data before the end of every month. I always have to resubscribe ,“ – Ayo Oyediran, an iPhone  user.

“I don’t know how my data gets used up. 500MB disappears within three weeks. I paid N2 000 for 500MB on my MTN, but how it got used up is what I don’t understand.” – Preciuos Emmanuel

They all called on the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to intervene by giving Telecoms providers the mandate of regulating the prices of internet data plans.

“These plans are not good enough for us. I spend a lot on internet subscription, all because I need to get mail updates and be on par with happenings around me.

I believe the NCC can make these telecommunication networks regulate the way we are being charged for internet access,” Babayemi Oluwafemi said.

Besides all the complains and before the NCC springs into action, there are few ways to reduce data usage on your Smartphone. Well, I’ve done the honours of listing them below

Use data monitor apps- e.g Onavo:

Onavo is a clever free mobile application that compresses and tracks data usage. Features of this app include;

  • Getting alerts when an app is using a lot of data in the background
  • Block specific apps on 3G or shut off 3G data when they exceed their cap.
  • Limit data usage on certain apps to Wi-Fi only. e.g Updates

Disable Push content

This might not be an option for most people but it’s a good way of saving your data bundle. Android 4.0 users or higher can disable push content per-app through the Data Usage menu.

Just tap on an app in that menu, and then tap the View App Settings button. Those with an iOS device can find relevant options under Settings -> Notifications. Each individual app with notifications will be listed there.

Use Lightweight Browser

Default browsers on Smartphones are known for chunking up data as they load Web Pages with all contents including flash contents.  It is advised to make use of lightweight browsers such as Chrome Beta or Opera Mini.

Caching pages

You can cache Web Pages while using Wi-Fi connection. This will reduce the time and data it will take to open the page when next you need to visit that particular website.

For those of you who don’t like long stories, click here >>> http://telegraphng.com/2013/08/data-bundles-prevent-android-and-iphone-from-dethroning-king-blackberry/

Apps a business user of Android should have

Although Blackberry has been tagged the business smartphone, other smartphones (iOS, Android and Windows) are not doing bad in that area.Blackberry has a secure messaging service (Blackberry Messenger) which is mostly preferred by professionals for interaction between colleagues, but that hasn’t stopped its market share from crashing since 2010.
Recent years has seen Blackberry users migrate to other smartphones (Iphone, Samsung, HTC etc.); but these migrants are most times faced with the challenge of what app they should have installed on their device(s).

Android-from-BB_1

Here is a list of apps that most business users can benefit from when they are getting started on Android.

1) Whatsapp

This is undoubtably the most used messaging app across all platforms (Symbian, Android, iOS, Blackberry and Windows). With over 200 million active monthly users, it competes with one of Blackberry’s major advantages over other smartphones: Blackberry Messenger.

2. Swiftkey
Since most Android smartphones are touchscreen; a far cry from what Blackberry offers (hardware qwerty keys)this app aids easy typing. Swiftkey lets you swipe
across the keyboard with one finger in the general direction of the letters you want to make up a word and then it predicts with startling accuracy the word you are making.3. Genius Scan
Smartphones have not only replaced most point-and-shoot cameras, but the cameras in smartphones can also replace most of the functions of two other technologies; scanners and photocopiers. With Genius Scan you can take photos of a multipage document, order the pages, turn it into a PDF, and then save it to Dropbox, Google Drive, Box.net, Evernote, or SkyDrive. Or, you can just print it or email it.

4. Evernote

Evernote can be a tremendously useful tool for note-taking and information retrieval. It offers online synchronisation and backup services; meaning whatever you do on your mobile can be accessed while on desktop.

5. Tripit

It is a trip planner that keeps all of your travel plans in one spot. Simply forward confirmation emails to plans@tripit.com and TripIt will automatically build an itinerary for your trip
that you can access anytime, either online
or from a mobile device. Part of Tripit’s magic is that it’s powered by some excellent backend systems that automate things for you.

6. Google/Yahoo Finance
If you work in the corporate world then you typically are going to track market performance and business developments, since the stock market is traditionally
considered a future economic indicator. This App gives real-time updates on the various international stock markets and lets you set up portfolios so you can track market segments like tech or health care or aerospace and the most important companies in those markets.

7. Linkedin
With over 150 million users, Linkedin used to just be an online resume network, but it has methodically added more and more business-friendly features to

that point that it’s become an indispensable professional tool. Linkedin has dedicated a lot of resources to improving its mobile apps recently and with more people using the service to share links and updates, this is arguably the most valuable social media app for professionals.

8. Accuweather

With NEMA’s prediction of Tuesday’s heavy downpour that went unrealised, Accuweather would be a recommended App. There are tons of weather apps

and widgets on Android, but the one that offers the best combination of convenience and in-depth information is Accuweather. The app itself has in-depth meteorological data, hourly and daily views, maps, and video.9. Google Translate
If you work in a growing, expanding business or a larger organisation then there’s an excellent chance that you now work with people in other countries and you have to overcome the language barrier. Whether you’re studying another language to help bridge the gap, translating documents or emails, or just quickly looking up translations to words or phrases, the Google Translate app will be a valuable resource.

10. Speed TestThis takes care of phones lag while doing simple things like loading web pages or sending files or downloading images. While surfing the internet, the best way to quickly tell if you’re being limited by your connection is to fire up the Speedtest and see if you’re experiencing any lag in Ping (latency) or Download/Upload speeds (bandwidth). This will tell you if your cell site is overcrowded or if your Wi-Fi connection is throttled or overloaded.
Other important apps are email/IM apps or Office Suite (Google drive, SkyDrive, Drop Box; Kingsoft, Office Mobile; Google Talk, Windows Live messenger, Y!Messenger etc.). Those are also essential apps (some are pre-installed) every business inclined person will inevitably have.