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Why Candy Crush is a success that can’t be copied

By on September 27, 2013
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I was speaking at the WSJ Europe Tech Cafe yesterday on many topics, but one of the topics that seemed to focus everyone’s attention was how King was making quite so much money from a game that is basically a Match-3 game.

I think Candy Crush Saga is more sophisticated than many people give it credit for. But I was asked to distil the success of Candy Crush Saga into three points. They are:

  • It has a great Retention Game (check out the GAMESbrief poster for more on that)
  • It integrated social into the Retention Game elegantly and effectively
  • It built on 10 years experience, two pivots and 150 game experiments.

I was asked to make a short, punchy video explaining all of that. Here it is.

(And yes, I know that my mouth movements make me look a little manic. What can I say: I’m a more practiced stage performer than camera performer.)

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve:
  • the p

    @brostormdirl you sound like a fucking idiot. @nick PUZZLES AND DRAGONS is better and rakes in way more cash than CANDY CRUSH. do your research, retard.

  • brostormdirl

    Hey bro, another great post. It has a Japanese style of layered gameplay to a simple core loop, check out my brotatoes Pyramid post for coreloop, etc. While at the same time CC is not too complex for the western market. Check out “Puzzles and Dragons” for the complex version. They, in my opinion, took the Tetris battle aspect and added it to mobile via a Facebook ladder system. What increases retention? A game my bros play, I play. What increases monetization? The fact that I hate losing to my bros. Why this caught on like wildfire? Look at the phone distribution numbers and at the 5minute/bus games available at the time, you could leave casually while still competing with your bros. 30 minute death matches COD, vs. ladder system (did someone say Diablo 2 10years?) Way to fuck up D3 Blizzard. But that’s a separate issue, freakin hobbies.
    Nick man, killin’ it on the Wall Street Journal.
    Pwnage accent.
    P.S “Liteking”- People want fresh experiences, why play bootleg Candy Crush when I(the consumer) have already spent a month on Candy Crush. Life cycles brotatoe.

  • liteking

    “Can’t be copied”? All you said can be “copied” by companies like PopCap, Zynga, Wooga,… They are quite similar in those criteria.
    Why can’t they create another success? that’s the question