800 million Chinese people have played, uncles and aunts piled up a fun empire


How much money can be made from “match-Free” games?The answer may surprise most people: These low-difficulty games, aimed at teens to 50s and 60s, are making more money than many TRIPLE-A productions and console games.Earlier this month, Activision Blizzard reported its Q4 2021 results.It is also the first earnings report after the news that will be acquired by Microsoft.Of the three divisions, blizzard, better known to domestic gamers, was beaten by King, the least known, with $684 million in net revenue and $385 million in operating income.Activision, the other big brother, is also dwarfed by King’s 56 percent operating margin and 240 million monthly live revenue.You know, Activision owns the Call of Duty franchise IP, and blizzard has a huge legacy, even if it’s on the skids.King, a little-known studio, makes most of its money from a series of “match-fun” games called Candy Crush Saga in Chinese.For example, CDPR’s revenue in 2020 was only about $580 million when Cyberpunk 2077 went on sale.These games, which first appeared on the web and then on mobile phones, have persisted for more than a decade, and their current monetisation power has upended the popular perception of “mini-games”.In its Q4 earnings report, Activision Blizzard noted that “King’s in-game net revenue rose 14% year-over-year to record levels for the fourth quarter, helped by 20% year-over-year growth in Candy Crush Saga, King’s largest IP.Candy Crush saga has been the top grossing game IP in the US App Store for 18 consecutive quarters.”The game is more than a flash in the pan, beating the original God and Pokemon GO.In fact, it has been harvesting players around the world for more than a decade since its launch.In 2011, a small team of five people at casual game maker King started working on an experimental trivia game called Candy Crush Saga.At the time, none of them could have imagined that the game would create a new craze.Candy Crush Saga launched on Facebook in April 2012 and on smartphones in November 2012.Within six months, the candy-wrapped match-3 game had 46 million monthly active users and $62 million in monthly revenue worldwide.In 2014, it ranked among the top three grossing games on App Store, the top downloaded games and the second highest grossing games on Google Play.At that time, the strategy tower defense was the mainstream mobile game market, and the dark horse Candy Legend entered the field of vision of major giants.When Activision Blizzard bought King for $5.9 billion in 2015, no casual game developer had ever been worth as much, thanks in large part to candy Crush Saga’s nearly $100 million in quarterly revenue at the time.For Activision Blizzard, the $5.9 billion acquisition of A game called “Mobile Music” is a treasure trove.In the years since, the match-3 genre hasn’t lost any traction, and King has been a major contributor to Activision Blizzard’s revenue.In the third quarter of 2021, King ranked number one in every one of its three divisions in terms of revenue, earning it a nickname from fans that “The big boy and the little boy are on top.”Although Candy Crush saga has thrived in foreign countries for more than a decade, its entry into the Chinese market has been somewhat frustrating.After being an agent of Tencent in 2014, it withdrew from the Chinese market after the contract expired in 2020 due to lukewarm response.Now, Chinese players can play Candy Crush, an updated version of Candy Crush, which is operated by NetEase Baoboat games.One of the reasons it didn’t take off in the first place was that China already had its own match-3 smash: Happy Happy.Le Element, a casual game developer in China, just raised 35 million yuan with its “Happy Series” games, mainly from DCM China and Junlian Capital.How popular is Happy Is Happy in China?When it launched its mobile platform in early 2014, it topped the download list of App Store in China and occupied the top spot of both android revenue and download list in China for more than half a year.Now, eight years later, it is still in the top 20 in China.According to the estimation of 7Mai data, the average daily income of Happy Xiao Xiao Le in the recent 30 days has reached 200,000 US dollars.Both at home and abroad, match-3 games have the same longevity and staggering revenues;Behind this, there is a common logic.Most match-3 games are free, and the main way to make money is through in-game purchases, such as buying props and physical strength.In general, they don’t cost a lot of money. For example, in Candy Crush, you can buy gold bars for as little as 6 yuan. In Candy Crush saga, you can unlock the next level for $0.99.The reason why They can make so much money with such a low unit price is that everything from the core mechanics to the level design is manipulated by the player.The first is fragmented play time.”It only takes 30 seconds to 1 minute at the soonest, which is exactly what we need for fragmented entertainment.For example, taking the subway for 10 minutes to work, playing a few games of match-10 when I’m bored, but it’s awkward to play a king.””One player told Zinc Finance.The extremely fast progression of the game allows the player to use it as a form of entertainment anytime, anywhere, but each round requires a certain amount of stamina.Playing a level in Candy Crush costs 5 stamina, and the stamina limit is 25, which means there are only five times of play.”Five rounds of elimination of joy time, maybe somebody else king just finished the hero.”When stamina runs out quickly, either wait for a 1 point /6 minute natural recovery;Or you can get a $25 bonus pack and have unlimited stamina for two hours.Second, the level difficulty of this type of elimination game tends to rise in a cascade.How easy it is to beat the front, the difficulty of the back can make you doubt life.One of the most common situations in a match-3 game is “one step away from eliminating everything”, but it takes 10 gold bars to get an extra five moves, so someone chooses to spend $6 to avoid spending a week on the level.This is a classic case of impulse buying: when the player finally gets close to his goal, he feels a sense of excitement, but when he finally misses a move, it’s easy to recharge the item to erase that regret.At the same time, as the number of shortcuts increases, another sense of superiority arises: “Why liver when you can get to the top for a fraction of the cost?”Most of these games can be tied to social platforms, and ranking with your friends can be equally stimulating.However, the first increase of five steps requires 10 gold bars and the second 20 gold bars……Until you hit the bottom line.By then the game had already made a fortune, and the same logic applies to most of the other special items and top-up items.In addition, in game design, through rewarding sound effects, explosive effects and so on to make players feel a sense of decompression, and even “can not stop” and so on, is one of the most common “Yang” strategy of developers.Behind the seemingly simple elimination pattern, from the beginning of the first level, the player has actually embarked on the game manufacturer’s tailored recharge road.Wang Haining, the founder of Happy Game, said in a speech in 2018 that the payment rate of their game is less than 2%, and half of their paying users spend less than 6 yuan…… a yearBut when the user base is up, none of this is a problem.In addition to internal game design and psychology, the most important aspect of match-3 monetization is its audience.At a time when triple-A titles are popping up all over the place, most game makers are targeting young men with spending power.Match-3 games, with their simple gameplay and low barriers to entry, have a deservedly neglected niche market.According to the official statistics of Kaixin, kaixin has about 800 million users in China and more than 100 million monthly users, 66 percent of whom are women living in third – and fourth-tier cities.Meanwhile, another data of Specialgamez also shows that in terms of age distribution, the age group of consumers of consumer Three is concentrated in 35-54 years old.A friend of his told Zincfinance that his mother’s favorite pastime after dinner in recent years is playing with reading glasses. “I can’t teach her or call her.Don’t ignore the consumption power of this group. According to a report on mobile games released by OPPO in 2019, the game Kaixin Xiaoxiao Le is the most popular among players born in the 1960s, and the average recharge amount is three times that of those born in the 2000s.For some of the smaller match-3 developers, the more realistic meaning of the audience is advertising revenue.From the beginning, match-3 games have been seen by many as a great vehicle for AD placement: simply add a 30-second AD option to your recovery or “five more moves.”According to the data analysis of UPLTV, a game advertising platform, for match-3 games with high difficulty, players consume a lot of in-game props, so they watch ads more times to get rewards, and the incentive advertising revenue accounts for about 60%-80%.However, for match-3 games with low difficulty, because players almost do not need to consume items, etc., and the clearance time is short and the speed is fast, the probability of triggering the interstitial screen is relatively high. Therefore, such games are dominated by interstitial advertising, accounting for more than 60% of the revenue.While headgames don’t use this potentially degrading approach to the user experience, it’s a revenue stream for the vast majority of small match-3 games.User engagement is not a big problem for them, after all, they have a target audience of almost all ages.In the 10 years since Candy Crush, match-3 games have become a very unique presence even in the gaming space, with their simple, lightweight gameplay and consistently high revenue.As long as there is a gap in the mainstream game market, match-3 games will continue to fill the gap and the “money boom” will continue for a long time to come.Light up my little star, we see each other all the time

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