On the again of Zynga buying Turkey’s Peak Video games for $1.eight billion final yr after which following it up with another gaming acquisition within the nation, Turkey has been making a reputation for itself as a hub for cellular gaming startups, and particularly these constructing informal puzzle video games, the wildly standard and really sticky format that takes gamers via successive graphic challenges that check their logic, reminiscence and skill to assume underneath time stress.
Right this moment, one of many extra promising of these startups, Istanbul-based, Peak alum-founded Dream Games, is saying the GA launch of its first title, Royal Match (on each iOS and Android), together with $50 million in funding to double down on the chance forward — the most important Sequence A raised by a startup in Turkey to this point.
Whereas Dream Video games will focus for the second on constructing out the viewers for puzzle video games with extra modern concepts, it additionally has its sights set on a much bigger purpose.
“We’re constructing this as an leisure firm,” CEO Soner Aydemir mentioned in an interview, the place he described Pixar as a key inspiration not only for measurement however for high quality in its class. “What they did for animated films, we wish to do for cellular gaming. We’re specializing in informal puzzle video games first as a result of everybody performs these, however we will even transfer ahead with different genres. We wish to be an enormous interactive leisure firm that builds prime quality video games.”
The Sequence A is being led by Index Ventures, with participation additionally from Balderton Capital and Makers Fund. The latter two backed Dream Video games beforehand, in a $7.5 million seed spherical in 2019. Index, in the meantime, is a notable VC to have on board: different profitable gaming startups it has backed embody Discord, King, Roblox, Supercell and Offended Birds maker Rovio.
Apparently, this isn’t Index’s first funding in a gaming startup based by Peak Video games alums: in December it led a $6 million round for an additional Istanbul cellular informal puzzle gaming startup based by ex-Peak staff: Bigger Games.
Dream Video games isn’t disclosing its valuation with this spherical.
Dream Video games elevating $57.5 million forward of launching any video games — or proving whether or not they get any traction — might sound like a dangerous guess, however there’s some context to the story that units up the chances on this startup’s favor.
The founding group all come from Peak Video games, the Istanbul gaming startup that was so good, Zynga purchased it twice — first, within the type of one small acquisition of some particular titles, after which the entire firm some years later.
CEO Soner Aydemir is Peak’s former director of product who constructed the corporate’s two largest hits, Toy Blast and Toon Blast. Ikbal Namli and Hakan Saglam had been Peak’s former engineering leads. And Peak product supervisor Eren Sengul and an ex-Peak 3D artist Serdar Yilmaz spherical out the remainder of the founding group.
(Aydemir notes that the group left and fashioned Dream Video games in 2019, a few yr earlier than Zynga’s full acquisition.)
The opposite indicators that Dream Video games is on to one thing are its metrics for its restricted check run of Royal Match.
Royal Match — wherein gamers are tasked with serving to King Robert restore his royal citadel “to its former glory” by rebuilding it via a collection of match-Three ranges and obstacles, with new rooms, royal chambers and gardens making up the completely different ranges of the sport — was launched first as a restricted check on iOS and Android within the U.Okay. and Canada in July main as much as this launch. In that point, Aydemir mentioned it noticed 1 million downloads and 200 day by day common customers.
“We expect the numbers are very promising in comparison with earlier experiences,” he mentioned.
Whereas Aydemir likes to explain Dream as an “leisure” firm, there’s lots of know-how going into the product, from the graphics and the mechanics of the puzzles themselves via to the information science behind them.
“If you wish to create an iconic sport, you want to mix engineering, artwork and information science along with prime quality consumer acquisition and a powerful advertising method,” he mentioned.
And he believes that if you concentrate on these it can inevitably result in high quality, which implies you now not need to concentrate on merely looking for successful.
“We don’t like that method,” he mentioned. “We don’t wish to discover a hit.”
That was additionally the combo that Index additionally needed to again.
“Constructing iconic titles requires a harmonious mixture of craft, science and flawless execution,” mentioned Index Ventures companion Stephane Kurgan, who led the spherical along with Index’s Sofia Dolfe. “The Dream Video games group has perfected this combine over a few years of working collectively, and has put it on full show in Royal Match. We couldn’t be extra excited to work with them of their journey to construct the subsequent world informal champion.”
Whereas Dream Video games’ long-term ambition is to construct out interactive experiences round completely different audiences and genres, Aydemir mentioned that informal video games, and puzzles specifically, have confirmed to be an enormous hit with customers.
The energy of that pattern has to date meant that puzzle video games typically have confirmed to have extra endurance than different genres in cellular video games, which have soared in reputation but additionally considerably fizzled out.
“Yearly we see the larger market of customers rising by 20%,” he mentioned. “It should stay for many years.”
Apparently, the concentrate on informal gaming startups in Turkey looks like an ideal storm of types. Undeniably, the confirmed success of Peak has introduced in additional punters, but it surely has additionally proven the best way to builders: you may construct a profitable and world client tech startup out of Turkey, and maybe puzzles — which concentrate on shapes — are particularly good at transcending completely different language limitations.. Alongside that, Aydemir identified that the nation is powerful on engineers and builders however slim on alternatives with larger tech firms.
“Cell gaming is a youthful trade, in order that presents a chance,” he mentioned.