Israel’s gaming industry isn’t as large as the United States or China’s, but they could soon provide some competition with their progress.
In 2021, the gaming industry’s income was $176 billion—more than what the music and cinema industries make together. Since video games emerged as the world’s biggest industry, it has left other entertainment sectors far behind. The great leap in the gaming industry occurred in 2020; the pandemic left people with a lot of time. Unable to go outside, everyone turned to an activity they never considered beforehand: video games. As a result, the industry’s income rose by 22.6% in just a short span.
Fast forward three years later, we’ve got some new developers continually trying to make a name for themselves. Third-party marketplaces like PlayerAuctions also popped up, which lets players sell their in-game assets for real money. Israel, in particular, has some game companies that are putting out top-notch stuff.
- Jelly Button
Jelly Button aims to create and publish entertaining, successful, and long-lasting titles by combining data, creativity, and technology. Founded in 2011 in Tel Aviv, they initially developed casual games during the infant years of the gaming industry in Israel. Jelly coined the term “Mingle Play,” a social experience where they could experience qualities of single-player and multiplayer environments. Their first major title, Pirate Kings, was proof of their concept.
Pirate Kings’ success allowed Jelly Button to entertain over 70 million players worldwide. The company saw the potential of the social game experience they built, and now, they’re working on more games to come. To give you a bit of a background on what Pirate Kings is, it’s a free-to-play title where you play as a pirate trying to conquer islands in quest of gold.
A short while after the release of Pirate King, Jelly Button made Board Kings. The premise of Board Kings is that you must protect your city from unwanted mischief and strangers. To do so, you’ll need to take them to the police station. You’ll also need to build your city; the more you build, the bigger the board gets. With the dice determining where you go, it’s a tabletop-esque game that’s a hoot to play.
Playtika is one of the largest game developers in Israel. With over 19 office locations, 3.7k employees, and more than 34 million active users in their games, it’s no wonder they raked no less than $2.5 billion in profits back in 2022. The company was founded in 2010 and has pioneered in Israel’s game industry. They were among the first to offer free-to-play mobile and social games on social networks. Playtika was also one of the originators of live game operations, which lets players have personalized, daily game experiences with new features and events.
In 2011, Playtika was acquired by Caesars Interactive Entertainment—the most prominent online, social, and mobile gaming company solely focused on casino entertainment. When that happened, Playtika published games every year. So far, they’ve put out Bingo Blitz, World Series of Poker, House of Fun, Wooga, Solitaire Grand Harvest, Seriously, and Reworks. Their most recent title, JustPlay, is a 1v1 online building battle royale where you must fight to survive if you want to be the last player standing.
Funnily enough, Playtika also acquired Jelly Button, the game developers we talked about earlier. During their first few years, Playtika focused on creating casino games—most likely in lieu of Caesar Interactive Entertainment’s plans. But as the years went by, they acquired smaller developers in Israel and created various gaming experiences. If Playtika continues to target the mass market audience with simple, addictive, and easy-to-learn gameplay, they could earn hundreds of billions this year.
- Moon Active
Moon Active specializes in developing hyper-casual games that anyone can get into. They’re one of the world’s fastest-growing mobile game companies to date. In 2022, they bagged $300 billion for their titles, which include My Cafe Recipes & Stories, Family Island, Zen Match, Pet Master, and Coin Master. Coin Master, in particular, lets players use a slot machine that can spin to win coins. These coins can then be used to upgrade their virtual village.
Based on what we see on their website, Moon Active seems to love to hold events. From raves to camping trips, being employed there with 1,400 other people sounds like a blast. According to Samuel Albin—CEO and founder of Moon Active—their current plan is to grow and expand their portfolio by making acquisitions and developing new games.
The Israeli Gaming Industry is Booming
Despite being a relative newcomer to the global video game scene, Israel achieved significant accomplishments quickly. In five years (2016 to 2021), Israel had an impressive average yearly growth of 54%. Their revenues increased by a whopping 760%, making their industry a flourishing market with great potential. However, there are some serious challenges Israel has to face—namely, the lack of funding.
Startups are beginning to thrive in Israel, but the problem is that there aren’t enough investors who can comprehend the industry’s value. Moreover, there aren’t enough educational programs to create human resources. If the game developers in the country can solve these problems, profits await them. For now, the most produced genre in Israel is casual games, but we’ve also seen the VG scene thriving. With Israel’s progress, we won’t be surprised if some of their casual games with microtransactions pop up in third-party marketplaces like PlayerAuctions.