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How Does Candy Crush Saga Make Money?

Candy Crush Saga is a match-three puzzle video game developed and published by King, a company specializing in social network-based games. Businessman Riccardo Zacconi co-founded King in 2003 after selling a subscription dating service he had also founded several years previous. The initial source of income for King was advertising revenue, but this strategy was abandoned in 2013. Today, Candy Crush Saga uses the freemium model (free to play) of revenue generation.

History of Candy Crush

Candy Crush Saga is a match-three puzzle video game developed and published by King, a company specializing in social network-based games.

Businessman Riccardo Zacconi co-founded King in 2003 after selling a subscription dating service he had also founded several years previous. Investment capital was hard to come by in the wake of the dot-com bubble, so Zacconi slept on a friend’s couch for two years while he developed the company.

King – then known as Midasplayer – eventually released over 200 games on Yahoo and AOL where competitors would play against each other for a small entrance fee. Two years later, the co-founders raised enough money to purchase the domain King.com. In 2007, King decided to launch on Facebook after the social media giant opened up to game developers.

King would then test hundreds of games, weeding out the duds and retaining the more promising titles. Chief among which was Bubble Saga, a game based on one or two-minute intervals with the ability for players to track their progress on a map. The idea for Candy Crush Saga came to Zacconi while he was in the bathtub. “Most of the games before had had jewels, or precious metals, but not things you see in everyday life. And I felt, let’s base it on candy. Something people naturally are attracted to. They look pretty. They’re edible. And it’s something that everybody sees.

In 2012, Candy Crush Saga was launched on Facebook but experienced strong competition from rival Zynga. The game was then launched on mobile with an important distinction: players could jump seamlessly between their cell phone and desktop without losing their progress. Ultimately, this cross-platform strategy was vital to the game’s later success.

Activision Blizzard acquired King for $5.9 billion in 2015, giving Zacconi a stake worth approximately $584 million. 

Candy Crush Saga revenue generation

The initial source of income for King was advertising revenue, but this strategy was abandoned in 2013. Today, Candy Crush Saga uses the freemium model of revenue generation.

All aspects of gameplay are available for free, but users can opt to pay to receive help finishing difficult levels. This is a significant source of income for King, with in-app purchases contributing around $1-3 million per day at their peak. These figures are particularly impressive when one considers that only around 3% of all users make in-app purchases.

For the consumer, these purchases can be made via iTunes, Google Play, or with a credit card.

Game add-ons are not purchased directly. Instead, the player must buy a predetermined amount of gold bars that can later be exchanged for specific features including extra lives, extra time, extra moves, and daily boosters designed to level up more quickly.

The price of gold bars varies by country, with discounts given for bulk orders. Generally speaking, they can be purchased in lots of 10, 50, 150, 200, 250, 500, or 1000.

Key takeaways:

  • Candy Crush Saga is a match-three puzzle video game developed by King. It was modeled on similar games featuring jewels or precious metals and became mainstream after being made available on both mobile and desktop.
  • Candy Crush Saga initially relied on advertising revenue, but this was quickly abandoned after a year or so in operation.
  • Candy Crush Saga now makes a significant amount of money from in-app purchases that allow players to enhance their gameplay experience. Features are purchased using predetermined quantities of gold bars.

Read also: Inside The Epic Games Empire, How Much Money Has Fortnite Made?Gaming IndustryEA Sports Business ModelHow Does Discord Make Money, The Free-To-Play Business Model, The Nintendo Business Model, How Does Unity Work And Make Money, Roblox Business Model.

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Gennaro Cuofano

Gennaro is the creator of FourWeekMBA which reached over a million business students, executives, and aspiring entrepreneurs in 2020 alone | He is also Head of Business Development for a high-tech startup, which he helped grow at double-digit rate | Gennaro earned an International MBA with emphasis on Corporate Finance and Business Strategy | Visit The FourWeekMBA BizSchool | Or Get The FourWeekMBA Flagship Book "100+ Business Models"