Curse you King! No, I’m not talking about some random monarch, instead I’m talking about the maker of the Internet gaming sensation known as Candy Crush Saga. Last weekend, I read an article on Business Insider that explained the addictive nature of the game and how this addiction has brought in hundreds of millions of dollars.
Up until this week, I had resisted the lure of Candy Crush Saga but after reading this excerpt in the Business Insider article I figured I’d give it a go.
“It's Bejeweled, but with candy, right? But Candy Crush Saga is currently HUGE in the mobile gaming world. It's No.3 in the Apple App Store and is the top game on Facebook, with 44 million monthly active users, according to AppData.”
Article author Megan Rose Dickey said the magic ‘B’ word – Bejeweled. In 2001, while pregnant with my oldest son, I came across Bejeweled on the PopCap Games website and I was hooked. It is a mindless little game but I love it. If Candy Crush Saga is like Bejeweled on steroids then it sounds like the game for me.
Well, it turns out that it is so much more than Bejeweled. Unlike Bejeweled, there are different challenges to complete as you progress - for example, the chocolate. I had no clue what the chocolate was and avoided the urge to look up spoiler information and figured it out on my own. I actually felt like I accomplished something; no, not landing a new client or finishing a 5k, I just finished a level without a spoiler. At this point, I knew I was in trouble.
In the name of research, I decided to play two versions of the game. My iPhone version is not synced to Facebook and Candy Crush Saga on my iPad is synced. I don’t usually utilize the Facebook Connect feature but since this is a social game, I decided to make the connection. I have to admit, it is kind of fun to see my friends’ faces along my candy trail and smile when I obliterate their scores.
Although I’m late to the Candy Crush Saga game, I’m enjoying it and I’m not alone. I asked my Facebook friends about their thoughts on the game and here are a few of the comments I received:
Jonnell said, "I play. It's a time waster and addicting as heck!! I have to advance to next levels and if I don't it drives me bonkers. I have purchased xtra items to help send me over to the next phase and I've even bought my own ticket to keep going. what sets it apart is that some levels are super easy and some challenge you. It's never the same."
Kathy agreed, “Jonnell said it well. I hate that you only get 5 lives.” Kerri, on the other hand, isn’t as sold on the game saying, “I play, but it's not my favorite. It tries hard to get you to make in-app purchases (I think it's rigged), but I refuse.”
Kerri’s statement shows the pure brilliance of the game; it is designed so that the user feels compelled to make in-app purchases. If you can’t get over the bridge, it only costs $0.99 to advance. Want a few bonus candies to use on a difficult level? What’s another $0.99? It is these micro-transactions that have brought in hundreds of millions of dollars.
Tommy Palm, a representative from King, discussed the game’s success with The New York Times, “the company’s target demographic skewed towards women between the ages of 25 and 55. But King has noticed that Candy Crush appeals to and “works very well across all demographics and genders,” he said in a phone interview from Barcelona, Spain.”
I’m smack dab in the middle of that demographic and most of the people that I know that play the game are females in the same age range, as well. I’d say that King hit the nail on the head with Candy Crush Saga. Well-played King, well-played; now pardon me while I try to clear those blasted jellies.