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Candy Crush Saga–where free does mean free

By on August 7, 2013
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Candy Crush Saga is one of the most successful free-to-play games on the market at the moment. We hear different numbers for how much money it is making, but a run-rate of over $200 million a year looks reasonable.

But is it truly free? To many people, Candy Crash Saga is one of those evil freemium games where the difficulty level ratchets in ways carefully calculated to separate you from your money.

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That may be true, but it is not the case that the most successful players have all spent lots of money. At the Games Monetisation Europe Conference earlier this year, Tommy Palm of King stated that 70% of players who had finished Candy Crush Saga had never spent a cent with King.

Seventy per cent. When I ask delegates to my masterclasses what percentage of people had finished Candy Crush Saga – over 300 levels – without paying a cent, most of them say none. Yet the actual answer is significantly more than half.

I was surprised by that statistic. It means that King is following one of the Design Rules for F2P Games (#7: Make your game free forever).

And it means that you *can* finish Candy Crush, over 350 levels of it, without spending a cent. Which I was not sure that I would have guessed before Tommy confirmed it.

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: thecurveonline.com