Turkey has been making significant progress in the gaming industry in recent years. The industry continues to evolve and expand, driven by talented developers, a growing market, and increasing government support. The country has seen a growing number of game developers, studios, and events that contribute to the overall gaming ecosystem. The country's digital games industry started to grow in the late 2000s, but fully took off in the 2010s due to the popularity of games played on mobile phones and tablets. As at 2022, the country had over 600 active gaming startups, 10 gaming incubators and 13 gaming accelerators. The Turkish government has recognized the potential of the gaming industry and has taken steps to support its growth. So many Initiatives which include grants, tax incentives, and funding programs have been introduced to encourage game development and attract investments.
One catalyst of the country's success is access to Technology. The widespread availability of smartphones, affordable gaming consoles, and access to high-speed internet has significantly contributed to the growth of the gaming community in Turkey. As at the start of 2023, smartphone penetration was 95.4 per cent of the total population. The increasing affordability and accessibility of gaming technology have allowed more people to engage with and participate in gaming. The country's youthful population, with a significant portion of its demographic consisting of tech-savvy youth. This youth population has a strong interest in gaming and actively contributes to the growth of the gaming community through their participation as gamers, content creators, and developers.
Turkey has a thriving game development scene with numerous indie developers and established studios. Many Turkish game developers have gained recognition both domestically and internationally. Some notable Turkish game development studios include TaleWorlds Entertainment (creators of the popular Mount & Blade series) and Peak Games (known for casual mobile games). Turkey offers various educational programs focused on game development and design. Several universities and vocational schools provide courses and degrees in game development, nurturing a new generation of talented developers. There are several organizations in Turkey dedicated to supporting and promoting the gaming industry. One of the most prominent is the Turkish Game Developers Association (TOGED) which aims to represent the interests of game developers, organize events, and foster collaboration within the industry. The country also hosts a range of gaming events and conferences throughout the year such as Gaming Istanbul, Turkey Game Expo, and Digital Game Expo.
Turkey has become a prominent player in the industry due to the investments it has raised over the years. The country's gaming sector grew from as low as $22M in 2020 to over $300M in 2021 and 2022. This placed the country on top in gaming startup investments in Europe in 2022, according to a recent research by Startup Centrum. The report data revealed that 61 businesses received 1.28 billion dollars in funding in the first three months of 2022. Turkish gaming startups received 333 million dollars in investments in the first half of the year, making them the first in Europe for the gaming industry. The UK came in second place after Turkey with 158 million dollars, followed by Norway in third place with 60 million dollars.
Furthermore, the most significant interest in investing in Turkey comes from the US and Europe, which is also aligned with the location of merger and acquisition activity and the origin of the buyers in exits. Although there is some interest from China and other Asians, the volume of investment from these areas is still low compared to the US and Europe. The Turkish mobile gaming market is well-positioned for growth in the future, at least 63 new gaming startups were founded just last year, regardless of the global economic challenges.
Mobile gaming Spyke Games which was co-founded in 2020 by Rina Onur Sirinoglu secured $55 million in 2022, the biggest seed round in Turkey. Also WePlay Ventures, a gaming venture capital, has rolled out what it claims to be the largest game acceleration program in Europe in April this year. All in all, the future of Turkey's gaming sector looks exciting, thanks to the collaborative efforts from the Government, game developers down to the young gamer. Both local and international investors can yield great benefits from the country's ever growing gaming industry.