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DFC Intelligence Takes a Look at Candy Crush Saga’s Q1 Performance

June 3, 2014 — by Mariia Lototska

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ContributionsOnlineResearch

DFC Intelligence Takes a Look at Candy Crush Saga’s Q1 Performance

June 3, 2014 — by Mariia Lototska

Involved in the entertainment industry since 1993, DFC Intelligence researches the digital entertainment markets and provides an analysis of issues and trends in many different parts of the world. They also provide data and consulting services to many companies in the global digital entertainment business. They share some of their thoughts and findings on their recent brief on Candy Crush Saga and mobile games.


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With Candy Crush Saga, King has shown that casual games can not only generate huge amounts of revenue, but also that they can have long legs, which is clearly the holy grail of the game industry.

On May 7, King announced results for the first quarter of 2014. These results were quite strong, even if investors may not have been ecstatic. With Candy Crush Saga, King has shown that casual games can not only generate huge amounts of revenue, but also that they can have long legs, which is clearly the holy grail of the game industry.

Earlier this month, DFC Intelligence published a brief entitled “Candy Crush Saga and What it Means for Mobile Games. That brief took a detailed look at Candy Crush Saga and how King built it into a mega-hit, including an overview of how King’s extensive knowledge of casual games and experience with delivering social games set them in a position to have one of the biggest success stories in game industry history.

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We have done our best to let the numbers speak for themselves, but as an editorial comment, we note that Candy Crush Saga has had very long legs, even if it does show signs of slowing.

This article looks specifically at how Candy Crush Saga and King performed in the first quarter of 2014. The focus is on mobile revenue and usage, where King has seen the most rapid growth. We have done our best to let the numbers speak for themselves, but as an editorial comment, we note that Candy Crush Saga has had very long legs, even if it does show signs of slowing.

Candy Crush Saga Numbers

For the first quarter of 2014, Candy Crush Saga had gross bookings of $430 million, which was down about 13 percent from the fourth quarter of 2014, where gross bookings were $493 million. Investors clearly don’t like to see declines, but these numbers remain staggering for a casual game that is two years old. Overall, it is a great sign for the casual game industry. It shows that when a company has a hit, they can have a nice period of time to deliver a second act.

Going forward, the Candy Crush Saga numbers look very positive for any sequels and spin-offs King may look to release. There is also potential upside as Candy Crush Saga has now gone into China via a partnership with Tencent. Of course, very few, if any, casual games will be the next Candy Crush Saga. Nevertheless, there are many lessons that can be learned from King. At the very least, it is a clear message that successful casual games have greater distribution and revenue potential than ever, and most importantly, they can generate revenue for quite a long time.

Candy Crush Saga Monthly Mobile Downloads 2013-2014




Source: Priori Data
Source: Priori Data

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Candy Crush Saga is an interesting case, because it built an active user base over time, even though a large portion of downloads were in the first part of the year.  According to Priori Data, Candy Crush Saga was downloaded 268 million times during 2013. Nearly 60 percent of those downloads occurred in the first half of the year. However, it is clear that downloads have leveled off versus plummeting, which is good news for a game that wants to have longevity

Candy Crush Saga Monthly Active Mobile Users 2013-2014

Source: Priori Data
Source: Priori Data

7The Monthly Active User (MAU) base for Candy Crush Saga remained remarkably steady from June 2013 onward, even as downloads started to decline significantly. What this means is that users continued to play the game and there were probably even a great deal of lapsed users that came back.

Candy Crush Saga Monthly Mobile User Churn 2013-2014

Source: Priori Data
Source: Priori Data

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Mobile User Churn is a measurement of how many users were lost month over month. The lower the number, the better. It is clear that after starting with a high churn, Candy Crush Saga had low churn while adding users. DFC attributes this to the social network snowball effect that helped keep users engaged.

King Revenue by Platform: 2012-2014

Source: Public Filing, in millions
Source: Public Filing, in millions

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In the first quarter of 2014, gross bookings for King were fairly flat versus the previous quarter. Bookings on mobile were up, while web/Facebook bookings were down slightly. Candy Crush Saga revenue was down 13 percent, but it was replaced by growth in Farm Heroes Saga.




King Monthly Active Users and Monthly Unique Users: 2012-2013

Source: Public Filing, in millions
Source: Public Filing, in millions

13Monthly Active Users (MAU) is the number of people that played a specific game within a given month. With MAU, there will be double counting of users that play multiple games. Monthly Unique Users (MUU) is the number of people that played any game within a given month. This eliminates the double counting. Because Candy Crush Saga was the dominate game for King, MUU was incredibly high.

King DAU by Game

Source: Public Filing, in millions
Source: Public Filing, in millions

King Monthly Unique Payers: 2012-2013




Source: Public Filing
Source: Public Filing

14Monthly Unique Payers (MUP) is the number of people that purchased an item from one of King’s games in a given month. Clearly the number of MUP is on a downward trend, but it remains very high.

In order to receive a complimentary copy of the brief “Candy Crush Saga and What it Means for Mobile Games” from DFC Intelligence, click here.

 

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