MTN customers will soon no longer need to dig pits, carve wood, collect stones and seeds to enjoy a game of “Oware”.
The board game will soon be made available for download on the MTN App Store.
This new innovative application 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 modified to suit the needs of the new generation player, who is interested in the game, but does not have time to dig a pit or collect pebbles.
The modified version of “Oware” was the winning app in the MTN App Developer Competition, launched by the MTN Group last year. Developed by Gustav Mauer from South Africa, the app was Mauer's response to MTN's challenge to the developer community around the world to create innovative apps inspired by Africa and the Middle East.
In line with its strategy to provide customers with fresh and relevant digital content, MTN is currently piloting its App Store in a number of markets across Africa. Plans are already advanced to launch seven MTN App Stores in the continent this year.
“MTN's vision for our App Store 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 the US, and therefore respond to conditions in those markets,” says Christian de Faria, MTN Group Chief Commercial Officer.
De Faria adds that 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.”
MTN's App Developer Competition was a great opportunity for Mauer who, although his work as a developer was not linked to telecoms, was already experimenting with apps.
“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.
Mauer emerged as the overall winner from a pool of over 1 000 developers who entered the competition. As part of his prize, he won an all-expenses-paid trip to the Mobile World Congress, in Barcelona. The event was held from 27 February to 1 March 2012.
“I was very excited when I won the overall prize. I enjoyed the trip to the Mobile World Congress, particularly listening to all the speakers, and of course, checking out the new devices at the exhibition stands,” says Mauer.
Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a multinational telecommunications group, operating in 21 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code: “MTN”. As of 31 December 2011, MTN recorded over 164.5 million subscribers across its operations in Afghanistan, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Iran, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville), Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia. Visit us at www.mtn.com and www.mtnfootball.com.