Candy Crush Saga is seen as one of the all-encompassing monoliths of mobile gaming. The casual title, which uses addictive puzzle mechanics alongside free-to-play in-app purchases, proved so popular that developer King was subject to a huge $5.9 billion takeover from Activision last year. However, it now appears that King did not have the greatest of years in 2015, with the developer taking a financial hit.
According to the company’s own financials, there was a severe drop in financial success for King over the course of 2015. Annual profit for the developer dropped by approximately a tenth, taking the overall figure down to $517 million – a profit drop of $58 million. Although that’s still an impressive amount of money, the steep drop-off compared to 2014 is bound to be a worry.
It’s not just profit that King has struggled with in 2015, however. Revenues were down 12 per cent, with the overall figure coming in at $2 billion. Meanwhile, total gross bookings of the Candy Crush Saga developer also took a hit, once more dropping by a tenth and sinking to $2.1 billion.
King was able to give a reason for the year’s financial slump, explaining that a decrease in popularity for the older games in the developer’s roster mixed with a lack of fresh franchise games led to an inevitable drop-off. “No new franchise games were launched in 2015, as compared to three franchise games launched in the year prior,” explained King CEO Riccardo Zacconi in King’s official announcement on the matter. “New franchise games tend to offset declines in our more mature games.”
Although there has clearly been a decline in the overall financial success of the developer’s roster, King’s titles still rank incredibly highly in both the iOS and Android charts. This was reiterated by Zacconi, who stated that “for the fourth consecutive quarter, both Candy Crush Saga and Candy Crush Soda Saga continued to rank within the Top Five grossing games in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store in the US.” Clearly, it’s not all doom and gloom for the mobile developer just yet.
Since Candy Crush Saga first burst into the mobile market, King has done little to endear itself with the overall gaming community. Whilst the various titles have King has developed have often been criticized for their use of problematic free-to-play mechanics, the developer has also seen the ire of gamers for a number of unpopular trademark disputes. Nonetheless, there is no doubt concern over just what this slump will mean for those who work for the company, and whether the downturn will continue.