After the negotiations that started in September 2020, Games United, which officially started its activities as an independent venture studio in February 2021, with the cooperation of Game Factory, which stands out as the most successful game incubator and accelerator in the game industry, and a group of investors, has become a ‘founding partner’ infrastructure and ‘enterprise partner’.
Games United General Manager Murat Kahraman said the following statements:
“Unlike traditional investment companies, we provide services such as team building, strategy, business development, as well as start-up capital support to start-up or early-stage game studios. In this context, we have implemented 8 studios as founding partners from February 2021 to June 2021. By the end of 2021, we will create a large ecosystem of 16 studios through university collaborations and incubation centers.”
Stating that they plan to open offices in Europe and North America in line with their growth strategies abroad, Games United Executive Board Member Ali Yılmaz said, “Within the framework of our globalization vision, we will make Games United the largest digital content-oriented game startup in its field in Europe by 2023. We aim to turn it into a studio.”
2020 witnessed the test of the whole world with a virus. COVID-19 pandemic, which started in China and spread to every country in waves, affected not only economic life, but also private life. In this period when mask, distance, and hygiene rules became the new normal, brands and institutions that could not integrate their product and service flow into digital processes lagged behind the competition. Some have even disappeared. Time spent at home has skyrocketed due to restrictions, and tourism and travel spending have fallen sharply. We entered a period where the need for shopping was met through e-commerce channels and everyone from 7 to 70 had to go digital. Digitization of work-doing styles was followed by digitalization in private life. All products and services focused on health, finance, entertainment, games, shopping, and education; became a part of a world where they can be followed through digital channels and mobile applications.
The global gaming market is growing rapidly, video gamers will exceed 3 billion by 2023
The most important reflections of the digitalization culture triggered by the pandemic were felt in the gaming industry. The statistical data of the NewZoo 2020 Report supports that the gaming industry is among the industries with the fastest rising performance since 2020. According to the report, the global game market closed the year 2020 with a revenue of 159.3 billion dollars with a growth rate of 5.6%. There are currently 2.69 billion video players worldwide, and this figure is expected to reach 3.07 billion by 2023. Another important piece of data in the report is that the mobile gaming industry accounts for 49% of the total market with a combined smartphone and tablet gaming revenue of $86.3 billion in 2020. All segments continue to record positive growth, except for browser computer games, which declined by 8.7% each year.
Games United offers a different vision to mobile game-focused entrepreneurs
The entrepreneurial story of Games United focused on mobile games, takes shape at this point. A group of angel investors decided to invest in the mobile game industry by meeting on the common ground that new investment areas are rising in the increasingly digital world, and fast and agile action would be advantageous. As a result of the brainstorming that started in September 2020, mobile gaming is a fast-growing, dynamic, and profitable field, but investors have focused on e-commerce, energy, biomedical, smart agriculture, etc. It was agreed that they have different dynamics from many segments. As a result of face-to-face and online meetings with Game Factory, which stands out as the most successful game incubator and accelerator in the game industry, the vision of angel investors and the expertise of Game Factory overlapped. As a result of this restructuring, Games United company officially started to serve in February 2021.
They get their innovative power from their ‘co-founder’ infrastructure and ‘venture studio’ model
Games United, an independent venture studio that creates game ventures by providing strategic direction and capital to develop the best games, provides services such as team building, strategy, business development, as well as start-up capital support to start-up or early-stage game studios. Unlike traditional investment companies, Games United enters gaming ventures as a ‘founding partner’ and takes an active role in studio operations with its own team.
Games United General Manager Murat Kahraman: “A large ecosystem of at least 16 studios will be built by the end of the year”
Stating that they have replaced the traditional studio-publisher relationship with a ‘venture studio’, Games United General Manager Murat Kahraman stated that as Games United, they plan to invest in some components such as audio, data analysis, and content-oriented game development in the game industry. He commented on the brand’s venture story and 2021 goals:
“In this period when the gaming industry in Turkey is on the rise and has become very attractive, the correct implementation of new gaming initiatives is a very important factor for our continued success. With our experience and resources from Game Factory, as Games United, we no longer just invest or support early-stage game startups, we stand by them as partners working together to achieve success with these initiatives. 8 studios, which we have brought to life as ‘founding partners’, are currently actively developing games. We will see their success in a short time together. Our goal by the end of this year is to create a large ecosystem of at least 16 studios and to realize a success story that will set an example for the whole world in a short time.”
New incubation centers will be implemented with university collaborations
Pointing out that 8 studios were established with this method between March 2021 and June 2021, 20 prototypes were produced, the first publisher agreement was made, 3 reports were prepared about the game industry, and the first incubation center agreement was made with Arınkom, Murat Kahraman stated that the roadmaps for June 2021-January 2022 summarized as follows:
“In the next 7 months, 8 hyper casual studios were established, 40 prototypes were produced, 1 casual game production was started, two content production companies were purchased outside the game, R&D studies were started for in-game data analysis, and an incubation center was established with two new universities. We have targets to establish business development connections in Europe and Asia and to start issuing pre-seed shares in December 2021.”
Games United Board Member Ali Yılmaz: “The target for 2022 is; to open up to the global arena”
Saying that they are moving forward with the vision of positioning Games United as Europe’s largest content-focused game venture studio in 2023, Games United Executive Board Member Ali Yılmaz said that making Turkey’s success especially in hyper-casual game production sustainable is another challenge in the industry. He said that they aim to develop expertise in different fields by working with stakeholders more systematically and thus to start the issuance of Series A shares by commissioning overseas offices at the beginning of 2022.