Shocking Addictions Fueling Mobile Gaming Domination

Confessions Of An Addict

Hello everyone, my name is “YOUR NAME” and I’m an addict.

I started the same way everyone else probably does. The first time I used, it was free. That’s how they hook you. I started slow, just here and there, but the next thing I knew it was an everyday habit. I wake up in the morning and I immediately need my fix. I think about it constantly. I feel cheap and dirty just talking about it. Yes, like millions of other Americans, I’m addicted to Candy Crush Saga and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop.

And I don’t want to.

A Billi….A Billi…. A Billi…A Billi

King Digital Entertainment, the maker of hits including Candy Crush Saga, is one of a handful of mobile game makers contributing to the domination of casual gaming. According to Statista, Candy Crush Saga made on average, $915,279 a day in May 2015. What’s even more impressive is that their game is completely free to download and play. So how do they make so much money? Great question. The easy answer is, go download it for free, play it for a couple days and then ask yourself on day 5 why you’re about to buy 50 gold bars for $4.99. The truth is, King Digital Entertainment, along with other game juggernauts such as Supercell and Machine Zone have found a way to tap into our internal reward system that practically opens up our wallets to keep the fun going. In fact, it’s estimated that in 2014, more hours were spent playing Candy Crush than the monster hits Call of Duty and League of Legends, combined.



Attack Of The Clones

So how does a Bejeweled Blitz clone make casual gamers spend hours playing their game in an industry where 10 minute gaming sessions are considered the norm? Well first, King has mastered their pacing. They give you just enough complexity to make the next level new and challenging, without making it too difficult. Candy Crush also gives you a plethora of goal types from level to level. That combined with their handcrafted stages means the player experiences something different at every level. Bejeweled, on the other hand, replicates their standard square game boards throughout the entire game and has the same repetitive game mechanics.

Don’t Be So Square

unnamed-3Another thing that sets Candy Crush apart from all of the other “match three” games is that they’ve broken away from the standard rectangular game board. This adds an enormous variety to stages as well as the game mechanics and strategy required to complete each challenging shape. When you finish a Candy Crush level, you end up saying to yourself, “Hmmm, I wonder what the next stage is like. I’ll just give it a quick try, nobody’s waiting for this bathroom stall.” Followed by another 30 minutes of candy flipping awesomeness. But the true genius of this game isn’t that it’s easy. To be honest, some of the stages are pretty difficult. King has circumvented the frustration of constantly losing a stage by adding the beauty of randomness. Each stage starts with a completely new randomized board with the pieces never being in the same order. So when you lose 5 times in a row, you’re always saying to yourself, “maybe I’ll get a better board this time”.

Baby I Got Your Money, Don’t You Worry

candy-crush-gold-barsWhat makes us want to pay for something that’s free, even if it is the most addicting game out there? This is where the true genius of game theory and design come into play. Candy Crush has to be one of the most balanced games ever made in the free-to-play model. Despite the randomness in the boards for each new level, a majority of players will confess that they often end up losing a stage because of only one or two moves.

Guess what?

You can buy those extra moves at the end of the level for a couple of gold bars.

“Wha-What? Just a couple of gold bars and I can pass this level that I’ve played ten times and keep missing by only one or two moves. I mean I love it, I could probably play it another ten times, but I really, really want to see the next level…I bet it’s even more awesome than this one…ugh, and “FRIEND’S NAME” is only three levels above me…I can totally get ahead if I can just get past this one first…good thing I just bought 50 gold bars for $4.99…SWEET!”

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