THE RIGHT KIND OF CRYSIS

Turkey 2016 | TELECOMS & IT | FOCUS: THE VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY

The Turkish video gaming market continues to expand, while a growing list of its IP is making a splash with fans around the world.

High PC ownership and internet penetration, coupled with a large, young population, mean video games are a common pastime in Turkey. Globally forecast to be worth $111 billion by end-2015, it's easy to see why video games are popular in Turkey.

Back in 2012, research conducted by Newzoo suggested that spending on video games in Turkey stands at around $500 million yearly. In late 2013, it also estimated that there are 22.5 million Turkish gamers aged between 16 and 50. Of those, 61% spend money on or in games. Looking further at the details, 20.7 million play social/casual games, with 15.7 million engaged in PC gaming and 13.2 million gaming on consoles. Massive multiplayer online (MMO) games are particularly popular in Turkey, with 13 million gamers opting for the kind of escapism only these often meticulously sculpted worlds can bring. And it is this demographic that is particularly popular for developers, keen to encourage a generation of consistent high spenders, or “whales,” within the MMO market, a segment that often charges a subscription fee and can also gleam more cash from its users via in-game micro transactions. When considering that 15.2% of gamers in Turkey also play across all mediums—TV/console, PC, smartphone/tablet, and handheld consoles—compared to just 10.9% in Russia and 10.7% in Poland, it's clear that there is a significant community of dedicated gamers in the country. A low average income also hasn't held back many young Turks, who flock to the country's 22,000 internet cafés, which usually come plush with the latest and most popular games for its clientele to enjoy.

And on the other side, Turkey is home to a growing video game developer market, with a number of titles having managed to gain significant international followings. One such game is Mount & Blade, a medieval action role-playing game that has spawned a sequel, Mount & Blade: Warband, and a standalone expansion, Mount & Blade: With Fire & Sword. The game currently runs a 8.7/10 user score on Metacritic.com and was praised by PC Advisor as “the first, great medieval role-playing game." Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord is currently under development, although the publisher is still unknown. Paradox Interactive, a Swedish publisher, published the first game, but lost the license in January 2014.

Other significant developments on the development scene include the opening of Crytek Istanbul in early 2013. Crytek Istanbul is a studio of Crytek, based in Frankfurt. The firm was founded in 1999 by Cevat, Avni, and Faruk Yerli, a Turkish-German developer. The firm is best known for its iconic Crysis series, a first-person shooter (FPS) that has consistently been praised for its graphical excellence and unique gameplay mechanics. Not forgetting its Turkish connections, Crytek made sure that the game included an option for full Turkish audio. Crytek Istanbul was launched with much fanfare at the Çırağan Kempinski Hotel, with the then Minister of Science, Industry and Technology, Nihat Ergün, in attendance. Speaking at the time, Serhat Bekdemir, Managing Director of Crytek Istanbul, spoke of the potential on offer; “Crytek's decision to establish a permanent base in Turkey underscores the company's commitment to leading the way into promising new territories. As a growing video game market, Turkey is the perfect place for Crytek to expand its profile and establish bonds with a whole new set of enthusiastic players, developers, and business partners.” The Crytek Istanbul team went on to work on Warface, a free-to-play (F2P) online F2P developed using Crytek's much-lauded CryEngine 3.