Israel’s gaming industry has been slowly advancing with major milestones that often go under the radar. The startup culture in Israel almost overshadows the advancements that have been happening in the industry.
Our startups are thriving, especially in Tel Aviv, with self-driving vehicles and cyber security startups stealing the spotlight.
Mobileye really put the spotlight on the startup industry when Intel made a $15.3 billion acquisition of the company. But there was also a major acquisition in Israel’s gaming industry that a lot of people overlooked: Plarium.
The company was purchased for $500 million by Aristocrat. Plarium is a name that a lot of people may not know, but they owned one of the top 10-grossing strategy games: Vikings: War of Clans.
You’ll find children and adults across the world sitting in gaming chairs playing War of Clans. The MMO strategy game also has a desktop version, browser version and over 270 kingdoms with 45,000 players on each kingdom.
The game is a huge success, and the acquisition has helped Israel’s economy, with $130 million or so in tax revenue being received from the sale.
Apart from Mobileye, Plarium’s acquisition has surpassed the merger or acquisition of most startups in Israel. It’s a major deal for the industry, and it provides hope to other gaming startups in the country. They may now have the opportunity to offer the next, big strategy game to the world.
But there was another major, much bigger acquisition just a year ago of Playtika. The $4.4 billion sale to a Chinese consortium was made by Caesars Interactive Entertainment, a US company. The deal is an all-cash deal, and while the company was no longer Israeli-owned at the time of the sale, it was founded in Israel and sold to Caesars in 2011.
Robert Antokol, founder of the company, remains chief executive of the company. Antokol founded the company in 2010 and is an Israeli entrepreneur.
It’s not a fluke that Israel, known for its startups, is just starting to flourish in the gaming world.
Sure, you’ll find kids sitting behind a gaming computer desk, but Israel’s gaming community is focusing on the mobile gamer, which has a much broader reach. Estimates claim that there are over 200 gaming companies in Israel that bring in up to $2 billion annually.
If you go back to 2015, you’ll find estimates that there were 200 companies that were expected to bring in $1 billion in mobile and social gaming revenues. The figure was up 25% from the year prior. Now, the industry is worth 50% more or higher, depending on estimates.
The industry is quickly growing in Israel, but it needs to continue innovating and convert to a system where there are more permanent players. Social and mobile gamers are less inclined to be permanent players.
Israel is also known for focusing on technology first followed by execution, and perhaps we’re seeing the gaming industry finally leveraging the state-of-the-art technology that Israel companies have perfected.
Then again, maybe it’s a completely different perspective of games in Israel. Plarium didn’t have patents, but the company put a twist on content that made their games a hit.