As casual gaming has seen a spike in popularity, one of the largest gaming publishers on Facebook, King.com, is looking to hone in on this captive audience. The newest game in the King.com catalog, Candy Crush Saga, launched on Facebook today as part of the London'based company's efforts to break through, if not, maintain its spot as the fourth largest publisher on Facebook.
For several year, the world of gaming has been captivated by social simulation games like Zynga's customizable world games, which take on a life of their own and encourage people to spend 10-20 minutes tending to virtual world tasks. But lately, with the growing number of people looking for games to play on their mobile devices, casual games that are played in a few minutes, such as puzzles, word games and drawing apps have been surging.
King.com has defiantly rode this wave since it has launched six Saga titles capitalize on people that want a game they can play while waiting for a bus or getting through a commercial. In fact, King.com has done so well in this category that its Facebook users are playing nearly 2.5 billion matches a month -- that's a huge leap from the 300 million seen last year when the games were on King.com’s website.
Founded in 2003, King.com has primarily focused on building a community of gamers that visit its website and only recently ventured to Facebook and other outlets -- which gives the company a great strength in brand recognition and loyalty.
The new game, Candy Crush Saga, is a candy-themed match-3 game that will launch on Facebook with 65 levels and provides several modes for gamers to test their skills -- whether it be against time, limited moves, collecting objects and removing objects. The objective is to help the game characters, Mr. Toffee and his daughter, Tiffi Toffee, travel the world to meet fun characters like the Yeti and Loch Ness Monster.
King.com has more than 36 million unique players a month across its 150 exclusive games in 14 languages and can be played on the company website, mobile devices, Google+, and Facebook.
Candy Crush Saga is in the same category as Berlin-based Wooga’s top game, Diamond Dash. Just two years ago there were no casual titles that could be played in a minute or two in Facebook’s top ten list and as of this month, half of the top ten includes short-duration casual games.
While gamers and developers continue to pour money and efforts into the freemium social gaming space that allows users to complete intricate tasks and build virtual worlds, we all learned a valuable lesson from the acquisition of OMGPOP's Draw Something, simple games that resonate with users can get a lot of traction -- and for a lot of money.
As one of newest member of the Zynga family OMGPOP proved that people still like simple, short games, especially on their mobile devices. When Zynga acquired OMGPOP for $180 million it was shocking and eye opening.
Zynga revealed that since the the Pictionary-esque game launched, more than six billion drawings have been created and, that at the game’s peak hours, it generates 3,000 drawings per second -- totally more than 6 billion drawings since inception. The mobile game also comes up as the most popular game on Facebook since the Facebook connection option makes it easy to find all your friends that you can play games with.
Zynga says that most popular words are “starfish,” “pregnant,” “six-pack,” “hangman” and “boom box.” And the least popular word thus far has been “latrine.”
AppData shows that the game has more than 14 million daily active users. The next most popular game, also owned by Zynga, is Words With Friends, which draws about eight million daily users.
In the past six months, Zynga has released 15 games and is continuing to build out its Zynga.com platform so that people can go directly to Zynga for their gaming.
Other than Draw Something, Zynga continues to flex its muscle to snap up games that it wants is its pantheon. In December 2010, it acquired the Texas-based mobile game developer Newtoy, developers of Words with Friends, for $53.3 million.
So casual gaming seems to be rapidly becoming very serious business.