Gaming Market in Turkey



Starting off with local success stories in online gaming in the early 2000s, Türkiye's gaming ecosystem gathered momentum with social gaming in the early 2010s, then gained steam with mobile gaming starting from 2012. It has whetted the appetites of both game developers and investors with a series of exit stories from 2018 onward. Today, the ecosystem is made up of 522 active game studios, 10 game incubation centers, 13 acceleration programs and 5 pure-gaming investment funds. Over the last 4 years, former game startup developers moved on to establish their own startups and, banking on their know-how and prior experience, raked in investments quickly, exited quickly, and even evolved into unicorn quickly. As of mid-2022, the Turkish Gaming Ecosystem has already seen the birth of two unicorns. The first one received a one-billion-dollar valuation on acquisition; the second earned its unicorn classification only 23 months after its establishment. These are clear indicators of the vibrancy and dynamism of the gaming ecosystem. Keeping up its current trajectory, Turkey, which already has the largest gaming ecosystem in Europe next only to the UK; has the potential to surpass its own current growth pace in the years ahead.


2nd Largest Game Hub

The Turkish gaming ecosystem, which has been developing since the 2000s, entered the spotlight with the emergence of success stories starting in 2018; today the number of active game studios in Türkiye has reached 522 in total, with 331 in Istanbul and 108 in Ankara.

Of the game studios in Istanbul, 50% have only been established since 2020, a telling sign of the momentum and support mentioned above which are boosting the Istanbul gaming ecosystem.

With these numbers, on a country basis, Türkiye is home to the highest number of game studios in Europe, after the UK. On a city basis, Istanbul is second only to London, which plays host to 636 game studios

In terms of VC investments, Türkiye was the country with the highest number of gaming investments in Europe in the first half of 2022. In 6 months, a total of $333 million was invested in 13 gaming startups in Türkiye, compared to $158 million invested in 14 investment rounds in the UK. This was followed by Norway, Finland and Sweden.

However, investment figures only tell a part of the story, as gaming startups are primarily focused on unit economics, i.e. LTV and CAC. Those who achieve the necessary metrics in unit economics at low cost, often do not need outside investment.

While the trajectory over the last 2.5 years is promising, Türkiye still has a long way to go to reach the top of the global gaming ecosystem, which is led by the US and China. As the Turkish gaming ecosystem continues to sow its experience and the number of success stories increases, it will transform into an ecosystem that grows by acquiring game companies, the next stage of an ecosystem’s maturation, and witnessing game startups that go public.

To achieve this, the Turkish gaming ecosystem needs to reach beyond the hyper-casual gaming category, and explore new models, such as Play-to-Earn and Web3- based gaming initiatives, which have already started to emerge. In conclusion, with driving momentum continuing to push it forward, Türkiye's gaming ecosystem is a rising star in the eyes of domestic and international investors, and everyone is afraid of missing out.

Source: The State of Turkish Gaming Ecosystem 2022 Version: v1 // 2022, Startups Watch

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