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If King fixes Candy Crush Saga to make you pay more based on your behaviour, they are going to prison.

By on February 19, 2014

Much has been made, particularly amongst F2P haters, of the allegation that King must fix the algorithms in Candy Crush Saga to punish persistent players, or to make it harder for people once they have shown the propensity to pay. Ramin Shokrizade is particularly vituperative in his allegations that King fixes its games by changing them from “skill” games to “money” games once someone has shown that they are prepared to pay.


Tommy Palm, the “games guru” at King, has denied this at conferences, saying that Candy Crush Saga is random throughout, with difficulty adjusted through the game at equal rate for all players, not based on the specific behaviour of individual gamers.

Haters responded, “well he would say that, wouldn’t he?”

Now we have a definitive answer. On page 93 of its F-1 filing for a potential IPO, King had this to say about difficulty spiking:

Pricing transparency and consistency. We keep the rules of the game economy identical throughout the game: the progression funnel is not narrowed through artificial blockers to force excessive social outreach or pay for progress. We believe this facilitates retention and game longevity.

Of course we can now start arguing over the definition of “artificial blockers”. But the key point is that this is made in a registration statement with the SEC, the US securities authority. Lying to them is a seriously bad idea. It is potentially a criminal offence. It carries monetary fines and the risk of direct litigation from angry shareholders. Every line in the registration is checked by lawyers who are very keen to ensure that this never happens.

So I think we can now safely say that the conspiracy theories about the evil ways King manipulates the difficulty algorithm based on your propensity to pay are just that: theories.

And now they’ve been debunked.

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: