Turkish social game developer and publisher Peak Games today announced a $5 million Series-A investment to foster continued growth in some of the fastest-growing markets in the world including Turkey and MENA (Middle East North Africa). The round is led by Earlybird Venture Capital, one of Europe’s most successful, early-stage technology investors. The funding will be spent on four main areas which will be recruiting for in house development, local offices, marketing and customer acquisition and the growth on mobile. Part of Peak Games’ success has been driven by how the company reaches underserved markets with localized and culturally-specific games that employ strong engagement and monetization strategies. Most developers did not invest in Turkey, partly because they followed the low hanging fruit principle and harvested countries that were easier to access and partly because Turkey has the reputation of being very hard to monetize. When we asked Peak CEO Sidar Sahin about monetization he had a very simple answer for us: “If you have a good product, people pay”. He also assures that if the game is adapted well to the Turish culture ARPUs (average payouts per user) can be higher than in Brazil, China or Eastern Europe. Entering new markets, Peak Games is expecting the most revenue to flow in from GCC countries (Gulf Co-operation Council:Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE) and Jordan, but also expects a lot of traffic from Egypt.
Launched in October 2010, Peak Games has quickly established itself as a leading social gaming company in Turkey and MENA, reaching the position of the 10th largest social gaming company globally by number of daily active users (DAU). These numbers are not yet reflected on AppData, as the publisher metrics are not a sum of the list below yet, but we are sure the stats will be updated soon. Follow this link to view more details for Peak Games on Appdata. Much of this rapid rise is due to Peak’s focus on games based on traditional Turkish and Arabic card and board games, as well as localized content showing a strong understanding of its audience. Peak Games has also partnered with several other social gaming developers including The Broth which created Barn Buddy, and MagnetJoy which created Pet Party, to create and publish localized versions of those games (Komşu Çiftlik and Petiler) and spread them successfully on Facebook. Earlybird’s investment follows an initial $2.5 million seed round from a number of investors including Hummingbird Ventures and serial business angels Evren Ucok and Demet Mutlu, bringing the total amount Peak Games has raised to $7.5 million in just over half a year. Peak Games’ growth to date includes: Peak Games’ most popular game is card-based Okey, which is by far Turkey’s most popular online social game with 3.4 million monthly active users on Okey and 1.1 million on Okey Plus (MAU). Other titles include: Poker Star, Komşu Şehir, Komşu Kabile, İkon Kız (FabGirl), Bizim Dünya, Komşu Çiftlik and Petiler.
Another reason why social gaming is will spread across emerging markets like Turkey and MENA Countries is the level of liberty. In Turkey or in MENA countries people frequently are not exposed to the same levels of personal liberties as in the Western world. Often it simply is not possible for everybody “to go to a bar or to go to a tennis court” to meet. However, they need a platform to interact and to talk freely and Facebook provides this platform. Turkey is already the fourth largest Facebook market, with over 28 million users and still growing. Taken as a whole, the MENA region is one of the fastest growth areas for Facebook and social networking, with the number of users growing by 78 percent year over year and is forecasted to reach 150 million users by 2015. For more information on Turkey, MENA and Peak Games click on the thumbnail below to view the infographic provided my Peak Games: