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In recent years, thanks to the rapid increase in digitalization in all areas of our lives with innovative technologies, the gaming industry has also gained momentum. As a result, the digital game industry, which has become a big market, is increasing its share in the cake day by day. Today, the number of digital players and expenditures and investments are growing. According to research, the number of global players, which was 2.55 billion in 2019, is expected to reach 3.07 billion in 2023.
Thanks to the increasing number of players with the young population, high individual developer potential, export-based business models, platforms that bring stakeholders together, postgraduate programs for game development, comprehensive government supports and developments in the entrepreneurship ecosystem, the digital game industry in Turkey is also developing without slowing down.
Today, 8 out of 10 internet users in Turkey say that they play games on at least one device. When the player profiles are examined, it is seen that the highest number of players is between the ages of 25-34. Another striking detail is that male and female players are almost evenly distributed.
While the primary preference of the players in Turkey is mobile games, the second place is the downloaded games, and the third is online games. Hyper-casual games, generally easy-to-play and free mobile video games, have been top-rated lately. The main reason why they are so preferred is that they have a straightforward user interface. Gamers can't give up on battle royale, FPS, strategy, and MOBA games. Games that can be played by each segment, such as Among Us and Fall Guys, periodically mark the industry. The top 3 favorite game genres of mobile players in Turkey are action-adventure, puzzle, and racing.
The effect of the pandemic on the gaming industry was felt in Turkey as well as in the whole world. In this period, when we were closed at home, even people who had never played a game before turned to digital games. During this period, people spent time playing online games with people they could not meet face to face. That has increased the number of players and the investment and spending on games. Moreover, the sector that received the most investment during this period was games.
In 2020, there were three remarkable events for the video game industry in Turkey. The first of these is that Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord, which was opened in March 2020, broke the record by reaching 100,000 instant users in the hour of its publication. The second development is the sale of Rollic Games to US-based Zynga, one of the largest game companies in the world, for $168 million. Finally, the latest development is selling Turkey's first unicorn venture, Peak Games, to Zynga for $1.8 billion. These events point to the development of the gaming industry in Turkey.
Organizations such as the Game Developers Association of Turkey (TOGED) and the Game Designers, Developers, Producers, and Publishers Association (OYUNDER), which serve the digital game industry in our country, are working very actively. The "Google Game and Application Academy," which was implemented in 2020 with the support of the Presidency's Digital Transformation Office and the Ministry of Industry and Technology, in cooperation with Google Turkey, T3 Enterprise Center, and Entrepreneurship Foundation, is an exciting and vital step for the digital game industry in Turkey. The academy, which started with 2,000 scholarship holders, half of whom are women, seems to achieve successful results in raising the game developer entrepreneurs of the future.
The most significant change in the field of e-sports all over the world started with the cancellation of physical events due to the pandemic. With the transition of organizations to completely online platforms, large or small-scale tournaments were held almost every day. That has made e-sports more popular.
E-sports is one of the promising areas for our country in the gaming industry, as the young player base in Turkey is in the majority. Established in 2018 to ensure the development and spread of e-sports in Turkey, the Turkish E-Sports Federation (TESFED) organized Turkey's first official electronic sports tournament in 2019. There are currently more than 125 licensed e-sports teams in our country.