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More than 22 million Turks play online games, but most of them play games created in other countries. This massive—and still growing—market is a huge opportunity that Turkey’s own citizens are beginning to address with professional development opportunities and education.
The country’s game industry leaders are playing up Turkey’s unique location as a nation that spans Europe and Asia. In February 2017, more than 100,000 game industry professionals and gaming enthusiasts will attend Gaming Istanbul 2017—tagline: “Gamers meet where continents meet.”
The four-day conference will feature a Cosplay contest, gaming tournaments, and an exhibition area for gaming industry job-seekers. Tickets for the full four-day conference are 40 Turkish lira, or about $13.
Istanbul is also home of one of Turkey’s first undergraduate programs for game design, at Bahçeşehir University. The program “offers all the game production stages both in theory and practice to everyone who dreams of becoming a game designer, [and] provides its students with the opportunity to accomplish their goals in a global sector.”
Game industry leaders hope that Turkey will provide incentives for gaming startups in hopes of keeping more gaming revenue in the country. The market is poised to grow as more Turks get smartphones and internet connections. According to 2015 research by the Pew Research Center, 59% of Turks have a smartphone, and 72% use the internet. Those numbers will continue to grow.