A new King of casual gaming is emerging, and it's all thanks to the intense popularity of Candy Crush Saga.
I won't blame you if you aren't familiar with game developer King. The company has only one major title to its name, but it's an increasingly important game - particularly if you follow the casual gaming scene. For the past few years Zynga had been the undisputed ruler of the sorts of games your mother enjoys on Facebook, but according to Doug Creutz, an analyst at Cowen Partners, things are rapidly changing.
Candy Crush Saga, a game that you either know as your current all-consuming vice or that annoying app that keeps reminding you of how needy your online friends can be, is only a few months old, bit it's already established itself as one of the top titles in its niche, next to big hits like Puzzle And Dragons and Farmville. Candy Crush Saga currently holds the top-grossing position among both social and mobile titles, and its momentum seems to be growing.
"Although our top social developers survey for May again placed Zynga in the No. 1 spot, [Candy Crush Saga developer] King appears poised to surpass the former social-gaming leader during the period as it is gaining [daily active users] as Zynga sheds them," Creutz writes in a recent note to investors.
"We also note that our estimate for Zynga.com's 'playing now' users dropped another 10.8 percent during the period to an average of just 800,000."
While this realistically means little to anyone who isn't a shareholder or employee of these firms, it's an intriguing sea change for the casual gaming industry. There was a time, not too long ago, when Zynga seemed to be an unstoppable juggernaut, supported by wildly popular games (which were themselves supported by Zynga's blatant, institutional theft of gameplay design concepts). The rise of King however, proves that any developer can be brought low by someone else with a more compelling idea for a videogame, and in an ideal world, that novel concepts and creativity will eventually win out over plagiarism.
Or maybe we're just overthinking this. Could be that people just really like brightly-colored puzzle games. We're more or less raccoons, and Candy Crush Saga is our shiny ball of foil du jour.