Istanbul has quickly become a hub for gaming startups, as evidenced by Dream Games’s recent $255M fundraising round at a $2.75B valuation. This impressive feat further confirms the growing success of gaming firms in Istanbul and the strength of the city’s gaming scene.
In this article, we’ll look deeper into what’s driving the success of Istanbul gaming startups.
Size of the market
The gaming industry in Istanbul is booming and the city is rapidly establishing itself as a global gaming hub. According to a study by KPMG, Istanbul’s gaming sector generated nearly $1.5 billion in revenue in 2019, with 73 percent of that revenue coming from mobile gaming. The city has over 250 game studios, ranging from small indie developers to larger international publishers.
The popularity of mobile gaming is largely driven by the size and diversity of the city’s population. As Europe’s most populous city, Istanbul has no shortage of potential customers for mobile games. The city is also extremely diverse, with a mix of ethnicities coming from all over the world, giving developers access to a large variety of potential consumers with different tastes and interests when it comes to gaming.
Furthermore, the emergence of 5G technology has increased interest in mobile games within the city, offering gamers improved performance and better connection speeds for online multiplayer games. This has resulted in an influx of venture capital investments into Istanbul-based game studios looking to capitalise on the potential growth opportunities offered by this new technology.
Overview of major players
The gaming industry in Istanbul has become an increasingly vibrant and important sector for the city’s digital economy over the past few years. Many innovative startups in the space have been able to build successful businesses by taking advantage of rapidly improving Internet infrastructure, resulting in higher competition and greater opportunities for success.
Some major players leading Istanbul’s gaming industry include Peak Games, InnoGames, Zynga Game Network (ZGN) and Gala Networks. These companies provide different aspects of technology-driven games such as mobile game development, online gaming customization, audio game development and browser game development.
Peak Games is one of the most dominant mobile game developers in Istanbul, having developed over 15 games in various genres including adventure, casino and puzzles. Its portfolio includes popular titles such as YOLO (You Only Live Once), Spades Plus and Pyramids Solitaire Adventure.
InnoGames is one of Europe’s largest independent web-gaming companies specialising mainly in strategy RPGs. Titles like The West strongly contributed to its success but also helped them launch spin-off titles like Tribal Wars 2 which have been gaining traction worldwide since its launch two years ago.
Zynga Game Network has recently announced plans to open studios in Istanbul, emphasising creative design projects such as social farming simulations like FarmVille 2: Country Escape. Zynga hopes that these efforts will draw talent from the local community and further develop their products and other creative industries within Turkey itself.
Lastly, Gala Networks is best known for its flagship product Game X. It allows players to customise their character avatar with over 250 different items such as costumes and gear sets making it a unique take on traditional MMOs (massively multiplayer online games). This allows players to create their personalised characters while maintaining a sense of individuality within their world through interacting with each other using their custom avatars paired with interactions enabled by popular “mini-games.”
Istanbul is quickly becoming a hub for gaming startups, with Dream Games recently raising over $255 million at a valuation of $2.75 billion. This success story is just the latest in a string of impressive wins for the city’s gaming industry.
So what’s driving the success of these startups? This article will explore some key success factors behind Istanbul’s gaming startups.
Government support for gaming startups
The City of Istanbul has become a hotbed of gaming startup activity, partly due to its government’s long-term commitment to strengthening its local technology ecosystem. Government grants and tax exemptions have created a supportive environment where talented developers and entrepreneurs can set up businesses and compete internationally. Additionally, initiatives such as the Istanbul Bosphorus Gaming Initiative – a public investment fund dedicated to gaming companies – have provided essential financial backing for startups looking for gaming technology research and development opportunities.
The social, cultural, and economic value the Istanbul game industry generates means the Turkish government’s strong commitment towards furthering innovation and development within this sector. For instance, programs such as Invest in Istanbul are designed to enable companies interested in investing in game services with preferential terms for setting up shop. This includes dedicated incubator services that offer assistance with game design prototype development and helping with funding, recruiting staff and connecting executives from relevant companies together.
In summary, the Turkish government has recognized the potential of Istanbul’s vibrant tech ecosystem by providing effective policy incentives such as tax exemptions along with other beneficial initiatives like Invest in Istanbul and The Istanbul Bosphorus Gaming Initiative that facilitate gaming startups access to desired funding support while developing concepts related to cutting-edge technologies.
Access to venture capital
Access to venture capital (VC) is a key factor in the success of any game startup. Istanbul game-related startups have had no shortage of VC investment, as several of Turkey’s largest venture capital firms have taken an active interest in the industry. Istanbul-based firms such as Peak Games and Kresniya Ailesi Venture Capital have raised millions to fund gaming projects. Some of these funds have come from larger international VC firms looking for reliable growth opportunities in emerging markets.
Additionally, multiple investment opportunities are always available to individual investors or smaller venture capital funds in Turkey’s growing gaming landscape. Many small and medium-sized gaming startups attract angel investors or strategic investments from game publishers and other market players, who often bring valuable business insights and advice along with their investments.
On the macroeconomic level, Turkey is one of the most rapidly developing economies in the world due to its potential for technological and industrial growth, low cost labour and high potential for foreign investments. Furthermore, the Turkish government also emphasises support for technological progress, frequently offering subsidies and tax breaks to stimulate innovation in all industries including gaming technology & services. All these factors combine to create a highly favourable environment for game developers seeking venture capital investments or other external funding sources.
High-quality talent pool
Istanbul has long established itself as a technology hub, with a high-quality talent pool providing an important success factor for gaming startups. The city is home to world-class universities that hire highly skilled, knowledgeable engineers, programmers and other tech professionals. With many globally recognized education, research and development institutions, Turkey’s capital provides access to cutting-edge technologies and skills needed to develop groundbreaking games.
Furthermore, the local startup scene is populated with experienced entrepreneurs and industry veterans who have made a name for themselves in the gaming sector. This helps early-stage companies secure financial support and mentorship while offering plentiful networking opportunities. A supportive government policy environment also encourages innovation by providing promising businesses with incentives such as tax exemptions, loans and grants.
Large gaming companies within the city have also played an instrumental role in fostering growth within the sector among local startups seeking to establish their foothold in the industry. In addition, these enterprises can offer strategic partnerships through investments or acquisitions and assist smaller entities dealing with talent acquisition or development issues by leveraging their existing resources. All this makes Istanbul’s game development ecosystem an attractive proposition for budding game studios looking to get off the ground.
Dream Games’ Success
Istanbul’s gaming startups have been experiencing a surge in success, and Dream Games’ recent $255M valuation and $2.75B valuation are a testament to this.
The success of Istanbul’s gaming startups can be largely attributed to the city’s tech-savvy population, the abundance of venture capital available, and the city’s central location within Europe and the Middle East.
Let’s explore these factors and what drives the success of Istanbul’s gaming startups.
Overview of the company
Dream Games is an Istanbul-based video game company founded in 2013 by Ahmet Tamer and Aybuke Kara. Dream Games aims to create and develop original content for both PC and console gaming platforms. The company has had numerous developments and successes since its launch, most notably with the release of the 2017 hit game Ultimate Ninja: Dark Alliance.
Ultimate Ninja: Dark Alliance was the first full-fledged title from Dream Games, featuring cutting-edge graphics, mission-driven gameplay, skill-based combat and an overall cohesive world design. The game was released on various digital game platforms worldwide as well as Steam Greenlight, where it sold more than 1 million copies within two months of its launch and earned over $3 million in revenue.
In addition to Ultimate Ninja: Dark Alliance’s success, Dream Games has also seen considerable success with other titles released since then such as Hollow Knight (2018), SpiritHunter (2019), Fairy of Fate (2020) and their latest upcoming title Ghost Raids (2021). Critical acclaim has been positive with each release, ranging from 4 out of 5 stars to sales records broken in several global markets.
In a recent interview Ahmet Tamer stated “I believe our success lies in our staunch commitment to creating highly immersive video games that can captivate a wide range of gamers regardless of platform or location”. This sentiment reiterates what we’ve come to expect from Dream Games over the past eight years – top quality entertainment experiences that fans connect with emotionally.
Factors behind their success
Dream Games has taken off in Istanbul in the last few years, with numerous startups creating successful video- and mobile- gaming experiences for users. So what are the main factors contributing to their success?
Various innovative strategies and factors have driven Dream Games successes. Firstly, by recognizing a gap in the global gaming industry, local companies have found ways to offer user-friendly experiences that appeal to casual gamers and hardcore fans. Additionally, they benefit from a wealth of local talent: Istanbul is home to some of the top programmers, illustrators and actors providing unique visuals and immersing stories for their projects. The city also provides easy access to venture capital funding with many investors eager to back unique startups looking to make it big in gaming.
Furthermore, Dream Games benefits from a highly connected customer base that fosters an ongoing dialogue between developers, players and publishers. Through these channels they can gain valuable feedback on improving their games which helps the development process immensely. Finally, thanks to cloud technology and mobile devices being so widely accessible today, companies no longer need costly investments in hardware or software infrastructure making it easier for them to produce diverse content such as augmented reality or multiplayer games at low cost.
These are just some of the major contributors driving Dream Game’s success. Still, many other important factors are at play, including marketing campaigns tailored for different geographies and legal advice on copyright protection and game monetization models. These all catalyse this recent surge in game development initiatives within Turkey’s burgeoning sector.
Score another win for Istanbul gaming startups: Dream Games raises $255M at a $2.75B valuation
Dream Games just scored another win for Istanbul gaming startups after raising a whopping $255M at a $2.75B valuation. This is one of the many success stories of Istanbul gaming startups in the last few years.
What are the takeaways from these startups’ success as the gaming sector booms? First, let’s discuss the different factors driving the success of Istanbul gaming startups.
Benefits of government support
The successful gaming industry in Istanbul is partly due to the favourable ecosystem created by the government. By providing incentives such as subsidies, shared research and development costs, tax reductions and expertise in different fields of tech innovation, local authorities are helping entrepreneurs to get off the ground and make their ideas a reality.
In addition, organisations such as TÜBİTAK (the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey) offer traditional grants while organisations like Turkcell Grand Angels provide venture capital funding. These funds are crucial in helping Istanbul gaming startups launch new products and achieve success in a saturated marketplace.
Up-and-coming entrepreneurs can take their projects from concept to full-scale deployment faster than ever through this type of targeted governmental support. Furthermore, government initiatives like Gaming Turkey aim to connect international investors with talented local developers, allowing for global exposure that can open up prospects for international expansion efforts.
The combination of generous government funding sources and a burgeoning tech industry has made Istanbul an attractive destination for game developers seeking to be part of something big.
Necessity of venture capital
Venture capital is essential to the success of any gaming startup in Istanbul, as it provides the necessary financing to turn an idea into a viable business. In addition, venture capital firms provide the money needed to develop products, hire talented developers, and offer guidance and connections that allow startups to grow quickly.
Venture capitalists take a hands-on approach, often working closely with founders to develop strategies and implement a plan for success. They also provide industry knowledge, mentorship, and industry connections that only experienced venture capitalists can access. Additionally, venture capital provides entrepreneurs access to potential markets (especially international ones), strategic partners, advisors and other key contacts who can be an invaluable resource for launching a business and growing it successfully.
Finally, venture support allows gaming startups in Istanbul to benefit from their funding structures. This enables founders to focus more on developing their product instead of worrying about how best to fund their start-up activities. This also helps foster innovation within Istanbul’s growing gaming industry by creating opportunities for new ideas before they become widely accepted or implemented elsewhere. As such, venture capital drives the success of Istanbul’s gaming startup ecosystem by offering essential resources needed for progress.
Importance of talent pool
The city’s extensive talent pool fuels the success of Istanbul’s gaming startups. Istanbul, Turkey’s largest and most populous city, boasts an impressive pool of game designers, developers, coders, graphic designers and artists that the gaming industry depends upon to create revolutionary games. In 2017 alone, more than 700 young entrepreneurs joined the market in Istanbul.
Turkey is home to some of the leading game development companies in the world, alongside some of Europe’s emerging startups. University students who specialise in gaming development and IT-related fields also bolstered the talent pool. In addition, many innovative experts have emerged from Turkish high schools with their ideas for gaming applications or businesses. This combination of experienced professionals and potential entrepreneurs creates a breeding ground for creativity and innovation in the industry. Moreover, it helps to drive rapid growth throughout all areas of game development.
Another factor driving investments into gaming startups is Turkey’s stable economy and lower labour cost relative to other markets worldwide. This allows startup companies in Istanbul to benefit from more economical resources that can help them get off their feet faster than many competitors and attract foreign investment for expansion into other markets. Additionally, helpful government incentives such as tax breaks are available which can be used to help launch projects or invest funds into new products or services being developed in this sector.
These benefits combine with a talented labour force capable of producing high-quality titles that stand up among global competition – making Istanbul an attractive destination for investors interested in tapping into this thriving market.
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