Why 'Candy Crush Saga' is a moneymaking machine
The insanely popular app has 15 million daily players, stomping nearly every other mobile game. It's free but still brings big bucks to developer King.com.
If you haven't played it yet, consider yourself lucky. The game looks ridiculous, with its brightly colored candies that need to be combined into rows of three or more. But it's insanely addictive, with challenges that you are sure you could beat if you just played one more time. Thirty minutes later, you're still going.
The game is an absolute smash. It was the most downloaded game in April on both Google's (GOOG) Play and Apple's (AAPL) iOS platforms, according to GamesBeat. It's the No. 1 grossing game on Facebook (FB). It's one of the top five grossing portable games worldwide.
And its free.
So how can a free game be one of the top-grossing games worldwide? Therein lies the evil genius of "Candy Crush Saga" -- and the future of mobile gaming. It's what's known as a "freemium" game: free to download and play but with plenty of opportunities to buy in-game extras like the lollipop hammer that demolishes wayward jujubes.
Here's how "Candy Crush Saga" rakes in millions: It creates points of pain all along the game, pain that can be solved easily with a small purchase of 99 cents or more. Oof, you just lost a very hard level. But you can buy five extra moves for 99 cents. Or get three lollipop hammers for $1.99. And you'll eventually get timed out of the game for about 20 to 30 minutes, but you can buy more lives to keep playing.
And so developer King.com has created a free game that you truly can play for free the whole way through -- as I am trying to do -- but it's so much easier to pay a few bucks here and there to speed the process along.
And if you find this whole concept aggravating and offensive, get ready for more.
"Game design used to be about creating fun," screenwriter and gamer Eric Trueheart told the Los Angeles Times. "Now it's about creating frustration. Once upon a time, what people tried to do was design a game experience that would be fun and engaging all the way through. Now what they do is try to make a game that may be engaging for the first 30 minutes, then deliberately throw things in there that will slow the game down or make it frustrating unless you come up with that extra money."
King.com, by the way, is looking at an IPO. It doesn't disclose its finances, but its annual revenue is thought to have quadrupled in one year to about $500 million, reports The Telegraph.
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We ruin our food supply with out of control GMO foods. We ruin our water supply with unsafe Fracking. We ruin our sports with PEDs. We ruin our sex lives with over-abundant internet porn. We ruin gaming with the proliferation of micro-transaction gaming.
(We ruin our country by electing........)
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