There are 30 million video gamers in Turkey. That's more than a third of the overall population - and nearly 80 percent of internet users.
What's even more important for anyone who is commercially intrigued with this community is that almost two thirds of them are paying for their fun. Coming from Gamecell, the new gaming platform from Turkcell, these figures are hard to ignore for any service provider who wants to win the content game.
Gamecell is hardly the first local digital gaming platform in Turkey: Türk Telekom, another service provider in Turkey, has built its own online marketplace named "PlayStore" years ago. With features like the ability to pay by credit card installment, pay by mobile or even to add the price to user's internet bill, PlayStore built its own local community who has a hard time making online / abroad purchases.
Now with this new service, Turkcell, another big player in the Turkish telecom industry, wants to up the game by siding with eSports fans. And they have partnered with a local startup that has a strong grasp of the Turkish gaming community: Faruk Akıncı, CEO and Founder of BigKazan, the company's partner in gaming business, answered our questions about the new service and Turkish gaming population in general.
"Gamecell is an integrated gaming platform that consists of five different components: Hive, Buzz, PIN, Market, and APP, "Akıncı said. Hive is the first local tournament platform for competitive games. Buzz will cover eSports and gaming industry news. PIN and Market are Gamecell's e-commerce ecosystem with exclusive payment options. And finally, APP is the gateway to mobile gaming. It's a360-degrees gaming platform in general.
Answering a question on how it will compete with the global gaming platforms like Steam, Akıncı said, "E-commerce is just one leg of Gamecell. Still, we want to provide extra value for gamers at every checkpoint. The Gamecell e-commerce ecosystem offers exclusive payment and content delivery options. Turkish gamers can purchase their games via mobile payment and pay in installments."
The launch event of Gamecell. The platform targets every layer of the gaming community: PC, console, competitive, casual, mobile and free2play. Turkish gamers can purchase the games via mobile payment and pay in installments.
"If that purchase is worth TL 20 ($6.50) or more, we're providing a Turbo Button that takes your internet speed to 100Mbit/s and you will not be affected by any quota limitations for 24 hours. When you take into account that an average PC game needs about 20GB of download, it's pretty valuable. In GamecellV2.0 (to be announced) we will be integrating a loyalty program as well where there will be a wallet system for every gamer," he adds.
Gamecell targets every layer of the gaming community: PC, console, competitive, casual, mobile and free2play. If you're a gamer, you will definitely find something for yourself. "Come and be a part of competitive excitement at the eSports tournaments in HIVE; keep up with the latest of gaming in Buzz; purchase the cheapest, easiest and most valuable way in PIN and Market; enjoy the most popular mobile games in APP, Akıncı continued.
The new platform will obviously influence the gaming ecosystem in Turkey. Akıncı said: "The Turkish gaming industry is still expanding with an average 10 percent growth rate every year. We're targeting 40 percent of the local industry at the end of three years but our main strategy is to be the primary partner for game publishers with acquisition, retention and monetization model. We want to create a successful local brand in that manner."
When asked about why the company wanted to invest in gaming industry, Akıncı said that it positions itself not only as one of leading GSM operators in Turkey but also one of the most effective innovation centers. "I've been working with different telco groups from Turkey, but I found the most powerful partnership structure in Turkcell. Gamecell is still a new idea, a fresh business model and the company reacted to this idea very fast. Currently there are hardly any competitors in the local market. It now provides its powerful features to the Gamecell ecosystem. We're targeting not only the local industry but also the different territories in near future," he adds. Gamecell is an alive and breathing platform that will be shaped by gamer feedbacks. By gamers, for gamers.