MTN brings West African board game to App Store

March 23, 2012 • Mobile and Telecoms, Top Stories

MTN today announced that the popular board game “Oware” will soon be available on the MTN App Store.

MTN Group Chief Commercial Officer Christian de Faria (file photo)

This app is a modification of the ancient board game “Oware”, which has its roots in West Africa. Also known as Ayò, Awalé, Wari, Ouri, Ouril, Uril, Warri, Adji, Awélé or Awari in many parts of Africa, the game has been developed to suit the new generation player.

“Oware” was the winning app of MTN’s App Developer Competition, launched by the MTN Group last year. The app was developed by South African Gustav Mauer.

MTN is currently piloting fresh content on their Apps Stores across the continent and the operator aims to launch seven new app stores in Africa this year.

“MTN’s vision for our App Store is to provide content that is relevant to our subscribers, and informed by conditions in our markets. The challenge with most app stores is that they use the same big aggregators from developed markets. As a result, their apps are created for markets in Europe and USA, and therefore respond to conditions in those markets,” MTN Group Chief Commercial Officer Christian de Faria says.

De Faria also says MTN introduced initiatives such as the MTN Apps Competition to fuel the creation of locally relevant application.

“MTN believes that it’s this locally relevant content that will make the MTN App Store successful.”

Gustav Mauer, the developer of Oware, believes MTN‘s App Developer Competition was a great opportunity.

“My interest in Android development started when I attended the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco, United States, in 2009. There I attended a workshop on Android development. I was impressed with how easy it was to develop applications for Android phones. This was before any Android phones were released in South Africa.

“I purchased an HTC Magic when that was released in South Africa and immediately started writing applications for it. One of the projects I did was to write a version of the Oware game for Android, which is a game commonly played in countries like Ghana and other countries in that region. The game I wrote does not have very sophisticated graphics, but has a good AI, which for example always beats me on its hardest level,” says Mauer.

Staff writer

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