Market Overview

Startups Acquiring Startups


What do young startups look for when making an acquisition?

For many organizations, it's about finding a new company that fits in. “We were also looking for an established team with a solid track record who would be a good fit for Peak,” Rina Onur, co-founder and CSO of Peak Games (a developer and publisher of online games in emerging markets), told Benzinga. “For the in-house development cycle, one of the genres we have been focusing on from day one is culturally relevant multiplayer synchronous games.”

Some of Peak Games' flagship products include Okey, Okey Plus, and 101 Plus. “We have built on this franchise and this knowhow to produce similar games that catered to the Turkish user base,” said Onur. “Having done this, we got the chance to dominate Turkey – a top-five country on Facebook with 30 million users. When we entered the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) market, we wanted to follow on the knowhow and strategy we built in Turkey.”

That, Onur said, is when they found Kammelna Games, a studio that Peak Games just announced it acquired this morning. “Kammelna is an online platform serving the Arabic region,” she said. “The flagship product on the portal is named Baloot, which is a popular Saudi game and the platform is garnered towards the Gulf region. The team of Kammelna has been working on and polishing this product for years. The game is a Saudi card game, thus [it] fits perfectly into our culturally relevant, multiplayer synchronous game genre. We will continue to grow this product, launch Kammelna Social on Facebook and on mobile, and continue to work with Kammelna team to produce more content for the region.”

Laser-Beam Focus

What are the advantages in acquiring Kammelna Games? Onur first noted the company's 30-person team, which she said gives Peak Games a “laser-beam focus on the culturally specific content for MENA.”

“We are serious about spending the time and the effort to understand the people we service fully,” said Onur. “We intent to build games specifically for their tastes and needs. Thus, the knowhow and experience the Kammelna team has built over the years is almost more valuable than the polished product or the already existing user base they have built. We will be doing everything to support Kammelna team, both in terms of recruitment and our social gaming knowhow, but the cultural aspect of the core product and mechanics will come from the people of the region.”

Dealing With Changes

Since its inception, the social game industry has gone through many changes. But these changes might occur more often and more rapidly than people think.

“It changes every day,” Onur said of the industry. “The trends, the mechanics, the tastes of the users… Luckily at Peak, we have diversified our production pipeline pretty early on in our ride as in May, we also acquired two social core game studios in Turkey. We were interested again in the talent that built these games and garnered the knowhow of the genre and how it pertains to our market. The reasoning behind those acquisitions was [not only] because we wanted to focus on social casual games, but also social core games and core games in general.”

Onur said that the metrics she sees in Peak Games' multiplayer synchronous games are “off the charts.”

“Lifetime of one year, average session play of 1 to 1.5 hours are not common metrics to be seen in social casual games,” Onur explained. “The cultural relevancy and the multiplayer synchronous environment in our games, which gives the users an opportunity to connect with each other, achieve these metrics. We saw such metrics presenting themselves also in social core games, thus we positioned ourselves to acquire the best talent in the region for those.

“We're focused on building both the culturually relevant social casual games, but also the social core and hardcore games for the region. We also hope to launch very strong mobile games for the region in H2 2012.”

Follow me @LouisBedigian

Posted-In: BalootNews Entrepreneurship M&A Success Stories Startups Tech General Best of Benzinga


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