Candy Crush Saga is a game that you have already played or have heard about because all your friends are playing it. Half a billion people have installed the game and seems to show no signs of slowing down. By the way, the game is only one year old.

How has this game got so successful when it mirrors previous games?

A lot of has to do with the look and feel of the game (it’s really well polished) and their marketing strategy works well with the game itself. Forbes has broken down five marketing reasons the game has succeeded.

Scarcity Increases Desire
Most games let you play as often and as long as you want. After all, to arbitrarily limit players would be annoying, right? As it turns out, the limits Candy Crush players have to endure are one of the key ingredients in its addictive power. Players get just five lives before they have to wait 30 minutes. Some spots in the game force a player to wait until the next day.


There are other reasons the game has succeeded and the brilliant minds at Overthinking It have tackled Candy Crush Saga. There, the author criticizes the game for not being game, but also that it’s more like a JRPG than anything else. Confused? You should be, but reading the article will take care of that, here’s a choice quote from it:

And suddenly the half-bored, trance-like state in which I play most rounds of Candy Crush these days makes all the sense in the world. And although Candy Crush has been compared, unfavorably, to a slot machine, I realized something else: in that dogged persistence actually will alter the odds in your favor, Candy Crush is less like an actual slot machine and more like the game that slot machine addicts think they are playing. “This machine is gonna pay out soon. I can tell.” And it actually will! Well, not pay out, exactly. But it’ll let me win. Brightly flashing lights, bells that go bingley-bongley-boop. Endorphins. All that jazz.

This makes the game come across as addictive and sure enough there is no shortage of people who claim they are addicted to Candy Crush Saga. Over at Macleans they have a Q&A with Tommy Palm, one the brains behind the game.

Q: Do you believe this game is addictive?

A: It’s optimized for fun. Players go back to the game because they enjoy doing it. In that sense, I don’t think you can compare it with addictions from other medical definitions. The social component is really important for longevity of the game. We see that with other games we have, too: Bubble Witch Saga was launched two years ago, and it’s still in the top 15 of most popular Facebook games. People continue playing it for a really long time.


Thanks to Nick for Overthinking It.