Whether you’re a 14-year-old school boy with a sweet tooth or a 30-year-old office lady with a penchant for line-it-up games, it does not matter. The hit game, Candy Crush Saga (CCS) by King.com has 12 million likes on Facebook and more than nine million daily active users – the whole thing terribly reminiscent of Facebook games like Farmville and Mousehunt, with annoying game notifications a dozen at a time. But we have all been through Bejeweled and its like; this is no new concept.
Three of the same object makes them disappear, four gives you a bomb of some kind, and five? Probably a higher level explosive device. The storyline is not fascinating, but there is one – a young girl, Tilly, following her father, Mr. Toffee around in a crazy, cloying and diabetic world.
So, to the exasperated non-CCS player, what exactly is the selling point? And why is everyone playing it? You do not have to be smart to play it: Perhaps this is my excuse for still being stuck at Level 38, but one does not need to have two brains to play this game. It is child-proof, like Slotsomania (not that a child should be going near the casino) or Doodle Jump. The game runs on luck and an excess of lives. All players start with five lives and 215 levels to complete. With so many levels, will this hit game ever stop being a hit game?
First, they lure you in with the easy levels like any other game, and I remember thinking aloud when I got onto one of the harder levels, “This game is so dumb!” But everyone knows the theory of ‘hard to get’ – the harder it is, the more you will try to obtain it. Everyone loves challenges. With other games, it is slightly embarrassing to the adult with a healthy level of EQ to ask for lives and episodes, but since the game is so popular, most of your friends will probably already be playing and asking you for items.
One way to deal with the meagre number of lives is to not open your gifts of either lives or episodes from friends until you run out of them. Another way, of course, is to give in to what your heart is saying (and wallet, strongly protesting against) – get the overpriced one-time use in app purchase. To unlock the next episode, it costs you US$0.99 and for extra moves, US$0.99, among other items.
A search on AppData showed that there is more than 5,000,000 monthly active users for the game on Facebook alone. But why is its sister app, Bubble Saga, registering only 1,000,000 monthly active users on Facebook? King.com’s other games do not seem to get what CCS has obtained either. But a quick look at how King.com marketed their success story shows hard work and sweat more than just sweet nothings. They have a well-maintained Facebook page, with regular contests and photo uploads of ordinary people playing CCS on their devices. Not only that, they manage to arrow in directly to their top demographic – women, with jewellery and cakes looking like the items in the game. In an infographic released by King.com, the company more than doubled its workforce, and will continue to do so in 2013.
Image Credit: Inside Social Games, Candy Crush Saga