Media & Entertainment

Is The Next Big Game Company In The Middle East? Peak Hits 9.7M DAU, Revenue Up 600% Since Jan. 1


Over the last several months, the biggest Western social gaming companies have been making moves, and attracting attention as a result. Japanese gaming giant GREE bought Funzio for $210 million to help it move into Western markets, and Zynga grabbed Draw Something creator OMGPOP for $183 million. Meanwhile, European social gaming companies, like Sweden’s and Germany’s wooga have been steadily moving up the developer leaderboards.

While the bigs all focus on Western markets, Istanbul-headquartered social gaming company Peak Games is busy taking a different tack, producing titles specifically for emerging markets, like the Middle East and North Africa. And it seems to be working. With just under 30 million monthly active users (MAUs) and 9.7 million daily active users (DAUs), Peak Games said today that it has become one of the three largest social gaming platforms in the world.

The company’s chief strategy officer Rina Onur says that the company has been able to do this in just a year-and-a-half based on its laser focus on building social titles based on popular card and board games that are native to the region and are tailored to Turkish and Arabic (local) markets, in their native tongue.

It’s a defensible strategy, Peak Games believes, as this approach to building games based on native, offline games (in the native language) can’t just be whipped up or ported in a few weeks. The startup has been quietly acquiring local development operatios, like hardcore strategy game studios Umaykut and Erlikhan (both of which are Turkish), as well as its recent purchase of Saudi Arabian social games giant Kammelna Games.

Again, these moves were made as part of the company’s effort to expand into markets underserved by gaming companies with localized, culturally-specific titles. Why? Well, for starters Onur says, young people in these regions are coming online en masse and they love games. There’s also the fact that Turkey and MENA have increasingly connected populations, and Turkey, for example, has the seventh largest Facebook markets, with over 30 million+ using the social network.

What’s more, in February, Onur told us that more than two-thirds of Internet users in Saudi Arabia were playing games online and that “the country has one of the highest average revenue per user (ARPU) rates in social gaming.”

Today, Peak Games seems to be benefitting in kind from this active gaming market, as Onur tells us that it’s seeing an average of between seven and eight cents in daily average revenue per user (DARPU) in Gulf countries — a rate which, she says, is noticeably higher compared to what’s seen in the U.S., U.K. and Germany.

Not only that, but of its some 10 million DAU and 30 million MAU, Onur says that an average of 2 percent convert to paying users on Facebook, 5 percent on iOS and 20 percent on the iPad. This led to Peak Games seeing a 10-fold increase in revenues in Q1 2012 over the same quarter in the year prior. And apparently this revenue growth is accelerating, as Peak’s revenue has grown 600 percent since January 1st.

There’s no question that Peak Games is growing fast and that it’s localization strategy is finding validation in a market that’s exploding with new gamers. But, as to its claim that its now the third largest social gaming company? If you look at AppData’s developer leaderboard for DAUs among gaming companies, Zynga is in first, in second, EA in third, wooga in fourth, and Peak Games in fifth.

But, according to Onur, that some 5.9 million DAUs that one sees on Peak Games’ AppData profile page doesn’t include DAUs for their published titles. Adding the 3.7 million from their 11 published titles, one gets the 9.7 million number the company announced today, which sees them leap-frogging over EA (8.8 million DAUs) and wooga (8.2 million DAUs) into third.

These numbers are subject to change, and AppData is not always reliable, so these numbers should be viewed in that context. However, Peak Games certainly has reason to consider itself now part of a handful of the largest social gaming companies on the planet.

On the heels of this growth, the startup is also attempting to build out its leadership team to help it move beyond social into mobile and online platforms in emerging markets. Today, Peak announced that Ali Kutay, an angel investor and former CEO of WebLogic and GoldenGate (both multi-billion-dollar companies acquired by Oracle during his tenure) will be joining the company’s board of advisors.

Robert Unsworth is also joining the startup as director of business development. Unsworth was previously the VP of global sales and business development at Digital Chocolate.

The company is backed by $18 million from Earlybird Venture Capital and Hummingbird Ventures and now has over 170 employees.

Find Peak Games here.

More TechCrunch

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

2 days ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

2 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo