(photo:  Plarium) 

(photo: Plarium) 

By Deanna Dweck, Plarium - June 5, 2015

Originally appeared here on Venture Beat

At one time, gaming innovators and enthusiasts journeyed to California’s Silicon Valley to devise their technological visions of the future. Now, the tide is shifting to Israel.

Currently, the country of 7.7 million people boasts more than 200 game companies and hundreds of tech companies, according to Invest in Israel. By 2013, 70 percent of the fastest- growing gaming companies on Facebook were in Europe. Half of the top 10 are based in Israel, and according to the Israeli Ministry of Economy, the country’s gaming industry is estimated to be worth up to 2.5 billion shekels ($730 million).

But how did this social gaming powerhouse happen?

Widely recognized as “The Startup Nation,” Israel’s reputation as a tech haven has given credence to its rise in the gaming industry in particular, and the reasons why are easy to fathom. Like the United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Israel, in its short history, has been a magnet for immigrants from across the globe.

These newcomers have brought with them not just diverse skills and talents but also a deep understanding of the tastes and interests of the communities from which they come. This understanding has given them a key advantage: Israelis are naturals when it comes to developing products that must jell with a global audience in order to succeed, because they themselves are a microcosm of that audience. Games bring people together, no matter their race, color, or creed. Read More