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 Candy Crush Saga 's King abandons in-app advertising
Candy Crush Saga's King abandons in-app advertising Exclusive
June 12, 2013 | By Mike Rose

Candy Crush Saga studio King confirmed with Gamasutra this week that it has removed all in-app advertising from all of its games across web and mobile platforms.

"We are moving out of the ad business altogether across all platforms," Alex Dale, CMO at King told us.

"The reason we're doing that, is that we want to focus all we can, and all our resources, on delivering a great player experience," he continued.

"We've growth a lot over the last year, driven by microtransactions in the Saga games - particularly Candy Crush Saga - and we think this is the right thing to do from the user experience point of view."

As for how the team at King will be affected, Dale noted, "We're hoping to redeploy almost all of the people involved, and those that end up not remaining with King will be treated generously."

He said that "a few roles" at the company will be affected as part of the move.

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Daniel Backteman
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Woah, alright, that's great! Great news for the players.

But, so they just decided to remove a part of their income without any public outcries? I haven't heard anything.

How will they make up for the lost income? Lower salaries for directors in sacrifice for principles and a more immersed player experience?

If they're just hoping that this will result an influx of new player, I'm afraid it sounds like a poor business decision.

Edit: I suppose that time will tell though, since this technically isn't even public information yet.

Carlo Delallana
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I've always wondered about the contribution ad revenue brings to a game. Thing is, an ad is basically an open invitation for a player to "click out" of the game. So in a way, removing ads not only streamlines the UX but also keeps the player engaged longer because you never give them an opportunity to leave the game through an ad they enjoy or despise.

Daniel Backteman
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I wasn't thinking about game-interrupting ads to be honest, only static banners and such.
I imagine that players are so used to banners now that they're ignoring them either way, not causing any strong inconveniences. Though if they don't click the ads, it does devalue that ad space and probably doesn't bring in a justifiable amount of income..

Hm, I was about to agree with you (well, I do regarding the game-interruping ads). Now I have admittedly not played Candy Crush, so I don't know the nature of the ads. But playing with the thought that it's unclickable ads, just banners with different brands trying to pay for some of your mind space; would that not completely remove that issue? The best of both worlds business-wise, providing that the ads aren't eye-catching enough to make the game & experience feel cheap. Just there in the periphery.

It would absolutely be interesting to see some more data on ad revenue.

Christopher Enderle
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Do slot machines interrupt players with ads?

Benjamin Sipe
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Slot Machines on mobile/social games do, yes.

Slot Machines IRL, no.


Mainly because you've faced an decision of what you were going to do that morning/afternoon/evening and made the decision to get in some method of transportation, travel a distance of varying lengths and actually spend money. All of that and the emotions along with them are very important because on mobile/social someone likely just "found" the game and it was free so they thought they'd try it out. There was no preconceived decision challenge over time commitments, no traveling and most have no intent of spending any money because after all... it is free...

Lars Krueger
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Well, if you run a game so damn good monetized with In-App-Buys running Top5 in almost every Appstore worldwide, you probably get to the conclusion mentioned by the CMO.

Joshua Pickard
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I did play Candy-Crush up to a point. I'm currently not playing because of an incredibly difficult level that seems insurmountable unless I buy several powerups and extra moves to complete. I chafe at the implicit demand that I win that level by paying instead of by skill.

The only in-game ads I can think of are the "Facebook" ads to send/receive lives/extra moves and an ad for other King games that pops up as well. I don't recall any 3rd party adverts at all.

In my opinion, King needs to remove the life limit. Once a player is out of lives, they leave for hours if not days. Granting extra lives is a near-futile endeavor since players generally get in the game with full lives and accepting gifted lives does not increase the counter over the max, thus wasting ALL the gifted lives. If the gifts were one of the weaker powerups instead, the gameplay would be useful and extended. Removing the max lives limit encourages players to keep trying on some extraordinarily difficult levels. I offer Bejeweled Blitz as a successful implementation of this model.

Nicholas Lovell
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70 per cent of people who have finished Candy Crush Saga did so without paying a dime.

Nicholas Lovell
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Also, it's up to you whether you accept the lives. I always wait until I have used up my lives to accept the gifts. Cos otherwise, as you rightly say, I would be wasting them.

Joshua Pickard
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I'm trying to be one of those 70%. :P I'm just unlucky, I suppose.

I wonder how many % of all players have even completed it? (Quit ratio?) And those that did not finish, what is the average level where they left off? The most common levels where progress stopped? What's with the design of those boards that caused the frustration to make those players stop playing? Those numbers would be what I'd want to know if I were in charge of addicting players to stay on for as long as possible.

As for the gifts, it must be a setting on my computer, because they each get offered exactly one time, on login to the game. If I close the popup window offering them, they are not offered again later. Those gifts are nullified. If there is another way of accepting them at a later time, it's not obvious to me. (or my wife, or my kids, or my friends, I've asked them all...) But hey, it's all anecdotal and I might just stink at the game and have a bad setup... but I don't think so. Seriously... level 149 is some bullcrap.

Maurício Gomes
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I know a couple of people in levels 300+ that reached there without buying anything.

Granted, they have LOTS of patience...

Ken Cation
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Don't you eventually need to pay to unlock additional chapters?

mini turbo
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you can ask your friends to unlock these levels

a simple, brutal, but effective way to make people share on FB