Turkish developer and publisher Peak Games today announced the acquisition of Saudi Arabian social games company Kammelna Games, marking a step forward to expansion in the emerging Middle East North Africa (MENA) markets. Kammelna’s staff of 30 will join Peak Games as founder Essam Alzamel will run Peak Games’ new studio in Damman, KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia); financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed. Peak will take Kammelna’s most successful game Baloot to other platforms, including Facebook and mobile, as well as launch new titles across multiple platforms in the Gulf region.
Peak Games’ CSO Rina Onur also tells us that the company is currently looking into opening up a third office in the Gulf Region.
“If you consolidate the MENA region into one GDP, it would be the size of a top 5 country with over 400 million in population. It has one of the largest and most active online gaming communities in the world,” said Sidar Sahin, chief executive officer and founder of Peak Games. ”We have added Kammelna to the Peak Games family because of their profound understanding of MENA players and their focus on creating culturally relevant, multiplayer social games – where Peak already has an expertise with millions of users.”
Peak Games started 14 months ago in Turkey and, after rapid growth in this market, expanded to the Middle East. Peak’s strategy is to cater to underserved markets with localized and culturally-specific games. Their most popular titles are mostly real-time card games such as Okey, Okey Plus, 101 Plus.
In emerging markets people usually don’t have the liberties like in the Western world where you can meet someone in a cafe or a bar, Onur says. “Players of our social games use them as a platform to build relationships with people from their region,” she tells us.
The demographics in these emerging markets is around 60 percent male audience for social games but Onur thinks that the actual ratio is closer to 50/50 – because men often hold the purchasing power but games are likely played by male and female members of a household. Apart from casual titles Peak is also expanding into core games, according to Onur. Peak Games also has two mobile titles to be released in Turkey soon for iOS and Android.
Peak’s audience has been growing rapidly, topping 20M monthly active users (MAU) and 7M daily active users (DAU), after a 25 percent increase in less than 4 months. Peak’s popular, Arabic-language Happy Farm sees 2.2 million DAU and 6.8 million MAU. Happy Farm is the second most popular social farm game in the world with more than a third of FarmVille’s numbers even as an Arabic-only property.
The MENA region is challenging for game developers because even though there are 29 Arabic language countries, the dialects across these countries vary greatly. According to the press release, more than two-thirds of Internet users play games online in Saudi Arabia which has one of the highest average revenue per user (ARPU) in social gaming around the world. The MENA region is projected to reach 400M players by 2015.
Social games developer and publisher Peak Games is based in Istanbul, Turkey. The company with focus on emerging markets now reaches more than 20 million active players. Peak Games is funded by venture capital firms Earlybird Venture Capital, Hummingbird Ventures, a strategic, regional investor and serial business angel Evren Ucok. Peak Games has offices and game studios in Istanbul, Ankara, Amman, Barcelona, Damman, Berlin and San Francisco.