Candy Crush Business Model | How Does Candy Crush Make Money?

Game developer King, a social networking company, developed and marketed Candy Crush Saga, a match-three puzzle video game. Zacconi started King in 2003 after selling a subscription-based dating service he had started a few years before. 

The Candy Crush Business Model was based on advertisement as the first revenue stream by King, but this plan was abandoned in 2013.

Candy Crush Saga makes money using a freemium model (free to play).

Success Story of Candy Crush

King, a social networking game developer, developed and marketed Candy Crush Saga, a match-three puzzle video game.

Zacconi started King in 2003 after selling a subscription-based dating service he had started a few years before. 

The dot-com bubble caused Zacconi to sleep on his friend’s couch while developing his company for two years because of the scarcity of investment money.

The company, known as Midasplayer, offered over 200 games on AOL and Yahoo to rival companies for a nominal fee. The founders of King.com secured sufficient funds two years later to buy the domain name. 

King started making games on Facebook in 2007 after the social media giant opened its platform to game makers.

Candy Crush Business Model

King then tested hundreds of titles, removing those that did not work and keeping the most promising ones. Bubble Saga was a game that played every one to two minutes and allowed players to chart their progress on a map. 

Zacconi had the idea for Candy Crush Saga while he was in the bathtub. “The majority of previous games included gems or rare metals, but not everyday objects. 

And I thought, why not base it on candy? Something that people are naturally drawn to. They are quite lovely. They are delectable. And it is visible to everyone.”

Candy Crush Saga was published on Facebook in 2012 but faced stiff competition from Zynga. 

The game was soon introduced on mobile, with one significant difference: players could smoothly switch between their cell phone and desktop without losing progress. In the end, this cross-platform strategy proved critical to the game’s subsequent success.

In 2015, Activision Blizzard acquired King for $5.9 billion, giving Zacconi an approximate $584 million share.

Candy Crush Business Model

The advertisement was King’s first revenue stream, but this plan was abandoned in 2013. Candy Crush Saga generates revenue with a freemium model.

Users have the option of paying for assistance in completing challenging levels if they cannot complete all gameplay components themselves. King generates between $1 and $3 million in sales per day from in-app purchases, which provide a significant revenue stream. 

When you consider that approximately 3% of all users make in-app purchases, these numbers are even more astounding. These purchases can be made via iTunes, Google Play, or credit card.

You cannot directly purchase add-ons for games. A player must purchase a set number of gold bars, which can later be exchanged for additional features such as additional lives, extra time, additional moves, and daily boosters that assist the player in leveling up more quickly.

The price of gold varies by country, and large purchases can save you money. You can usually choose from 10, 50, 150, 200, 250, 500, and 1000.

Rise of Candy Crush

Candy Crush was ranked third in the App Store in downloads soon after its 2011 release by King (the developer). The app ranked fourth on Google Play, and King was ranked in the top ten on both Google Play and the App Store for monthly revenue.

It took King only three iOS games and two Android games to achieve this feat.

Electronic Arts have 829 apps on the App Store and 121 on Google Play, while Rovio, the maker of Angry Birds, has 30 iPhone/iPad apps and 15 on Android.

Candy Crush Business Model

The game reached 245 million active monthly users in 2014 but dwindled to 166 million by 2016. The number of monthly active players reached 293 million by November 2017.

Candy Crush Saga has been downloaded over 2.73 billion times five years after its debut on smartphones.

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How Does Candy Crush Make Money?

Candy Crush revenue was primarily generated by advertising at the beginning. The game was monetized by King through in-app purchases after the advertisement was removed in 2013.

King earns millions of dollars in monthly revenue even though only a few percent of its player base purchases in-game stuff.

Candy Crush Saga users spent more than $1.33 billion on in-app purchases in 2014. The amount spent in the second half of 2013 was below $1.04 billion compared to the previous year.

It was expected that monthly income by 2015 would be $120 million, but with decreased in-game item purchases (down to 2%), revenue has dropped to around $53 million.

Once again, monthly sales reached $128 million in October 2018. The application remained one of the top gross-revenue-earning apps in the four years before 2017. 

As of the end of July 2018, the Candy Crush game generated $3.9 billion in revenue. 

Candy Crush Acquisition

Candy Crush’s parent company King.com filed for an IPO in 2014 at a valuation of $7.1 billion, and Activision Blizzard acquired King.com for $5.9 billion in February 2016.

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Facts About Candy Crush

  • One interesting thing to notice is that Candy crush is extremely popular and beloved by women, accounting for approximately 58 percent of the overall candy crush playing population.
  • Candy crush began with 65 levels in 2013 and has now grown to over 3000 levels and counting.
  • One remarkable figure is that approximately 46% of Candy Crush players are GenX or generation X, which refers to persons born between 1961 and 1981. As games similar to candy crush were extremely popular among this generation at their young ages, this was also a big cause for candy crush’s success.
  • As of July 2021, there are 8630 levels included in 567 episodes; additionally, approximately 50 levels are added each Wednesday.

Key Takeaways from Candy Crush Business Model

King developed Candy Crush Saga, a match-three puzzle video game. It was influenced by similar games that included gems or valuable metals and quickly gained popularity after being released on mobile and desktop.

Candy Crush Saga’s initial business model was based on advertising, but it was abruptly abandoned after a year of operation.

Candy Crush Saga generates a significant revenue stream through in-app purchases that allow gamers to customize their gameplay experience. The features can be acquired by purchasing certain quantities of gold bars.

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