Today was the first, and likely last, time I opened a King game. I’m not a purist by any means, nor am I against the “creative” monetization methods King has mastered to turn its highly-addictive franchises, especially Candy Crush, into money-making machines, but I am against shallow, unrewarding gameplay.
That said, millions upon millions of people — according to Google, between 100 and 500 million, in fact — would vehemently disagree with me. Candy Crush is the second-highest grossing game on the Play Store and the third-highest on the App Store, and that’s after spending over a year at the top of each.
In February, King Digital Entertainment revealed that Candy Crush had 93 million daily active users as of last December, and the billion daily games — BILLION — accounted for 78%, or $450 million, of the company’s gross revenue that quarter. The scale of Candy Crush’s success allowed King to file an IPO earlier this year, and though the company publishes nearly 200 games, its original hit is still by far the biggest revenue generator.
Which leads us to today, as the company gears up to launch a sequel to Candy Crush, aptly titled Candy Crush Soda Saga. The match-three gameplay is the same, as are the cutesy sounds and plush, fattened avatars. Similarly, users still have finite lives that can either be waited out for regeneration or traded with friends over Facebook, as well as in-app purchases to skip difficult puzzles and earn new characters.
In fact, Candy Crush Soda Saga, aside from the slightly updated colour palette, is practically identical to the original, making it less a sequel than an expansion pack of sorts. According to Touch Arcade, a new purple block makes matching slightly more difficult in later levels, but that’s about it.
The free-to-play title is available first in the Canadian Play Store, with an iOS rollout coming in the next few days, before rolling out worldwide shortly.