TIME Mobile Gaming

Candy Crush Maker Diversifies, but Profits Take a Dip

King Digital leans less on its biggest game, but profits drop from $159 million in the fourth quarter of 2013 to $127 million in the first three months of 2014

Candy Crush Saga maker King Digital has an answer for critics who’ve called the company a one-hit wonder.

In the first quarter of 2014, King’s revenue stream was more diverse than ever, with 67% of its earnings coming from Candy Crush. That’s down from 78% in the last quarter of 2013, as King pushes new games like Farm Heroes Saga. King now has three of the 10 top-grossing games in both the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store, with Pet Rescue Saga rounding out King’s list of hits.

King also notched record revenues of $607 million, for a year-over-year increase of 195%.

It wasn’t all good news though. Profits are down sequentially, from $159 million in the final quarter of 2013 to $127 million in the first three months of the year. King said the lower profits are due to an increased headcount and the launch of Farm Heroes Saga, according to Business Insider.

The number of “unique payers”–that is, people paying for in-app power-ups–dropped to 11.9 million last quarter, down from 12.2 million in Q4 2013, and down from a peak of 13 million in Q3 2013.

That may explain why King’s stock is taking a dive today. At the time of publication, it was currently trading at $16.61 per share, compared to its IPO pricing of $22.50 per share. The company’s March IPO flopped badly, with shares falling 16% on the day of release.

[WSJ]

TIME Mobile Gaming

Wall Street Sours On Candy Crush IPO

Candy Crush Game Maker King Announces IPO to List in New York
The "Candy Crush Saga" game is displayed on an Apple Inc. iPhone 5s and iPad Air in this arranged photograph in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

The mobile-game maker King Digital Entertainment missed its initial offering at $22.50 per share ahead of its trading that began this morning on the New York Stock Exchange as shares sank to around $20.50

Updated 10:30 ET

Investors failed to bite on King Digital Entertainment’s stock during the first day of trading Wednesday, as the maker of the smash hit mobile app Candy Crush saw its share prices drop 9% by 10:30 to around $20.50.

King Digital had raised $500 million before Wednesday by pricing its stock at $22.50 a share, valuing the company at $7 billion—one of the biggest IPOs so far this year, reports the New York Times. The stock began trading on the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday.

Candy Crush Saga attracts nearly 100 million active users every day, leading to enormous profits for the company. Its earnings bounced 7,000 percent from the same time a year ago to nearly $568 million in 2013.

But some question whether King Digital isn’t just a one-trick pony riding the success of Candy Crush. “Companies like King are reliant on hits,” Mark Little, an analyst at the technology consultant Ovum in London told the Times. “It’s an open question whether they can sustain their success.”

[NYT]

TIME Video Games

Zynga Wants You Back with New Farmville, Words With Friends and Poker

Zynga

What's Facebook? Zynga's new games are all about phones and tablets.

If you could just stop playing Candy Crush Saga for a minute, Zynga would really like you to get back into Farmville, Words With Friends and Poker now.

As such, the company is announcing revamped versions of its hit games for mobile devices:

  • FarmVille 2: Country Escape has you raising crops in a coastal setting on phones and tablets. It connects with the web version of FarmVille 2, has a common rewards system and adds “Social Control” options so you don’t have to spam all your friends and family with your progress. It also works offline.
  • Words With Friends is getting a dictionary, leaderboards and detailed statistics. Players can switch to the new version and have all their in-progress games and history carry over.
  • Zynga Poker will be faster and more responsive, and will learn how good of a player you are to match you up with people of equal skill.

Things haven’t been going so well for Zynga. A few years ago, Zynga dominated Facebook gaming with hits like FarmVille and CityVille, but the company hasn’t been able to sustain that success, and declining user numbers have led Zynga to lay off hundreds of employees over the last year. On mobile devices, Zynga hasn’t been as dominant, and one of its biggest efforts to buy into the space–with the $200 million purchase of Draw Something makers OMGPOP–was a spectacular failure.

The trio of revamped games are a clear attempt by Zynga to refocus on mobile. In fact, the company’s blog post announcing the games doesn’t mention Facebook at all. Still, Zynga will need more than few warmed over classics to recapture the enthusiasm of its Facebook heyday.

MORE: The History of Video Game Consoles – Full

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