Candy Crush is a name that is very well known to everyone who owns a smart-phone. Its a game that became the new craze and spread through every phone like a virus. And why wouldn’t it, everyone likes candies and everyone loved playing the old game of Tetris that Candy Crush is based upon.
There are millions of game available in the market these days, both for computers and phones. Lots of them are well popular but the question is that how many of them are actually capable of serving millions to the makers. Answer is, just a few.
I have been playing Candy Crush for almost a year now and at the time of writing this article, I am in 400+ levels which means I still haven’t finished it and god help me if they added more levels. Almost everyone I know has taken pretty much the same amount time to cross levels in this game. Usually people get bored or frustrated if a game takes them so long to finish but that is not the case with Candy Crush. What made this game so popular and turn it into a money making machine is actually a very clever combination of basic economics and marketing strategy.
Why do people play games on their cell phones? Is it because they are addicted to computer games and they do actually wanted to play a game? Answer is no, they do it to either kill their time or to take a quick break from whatever they were doing at that time. Remember the old snake game in Nokia phones? It was probably the first popular cell phone game and Candy Crush implies the same strategy. Its not a mind game (which many people confuse it to be) or some war game where you have to play close attention to or get your head focused on your moves. Its a fairly simple game of matching colors with quick levels. You can take your cell phone out, play it for a minute or two and get back to whatever you are doing. But is it really you playing the game or is it the game playing you?
If you think about it, for a game that simple it shouldn’t take months to cross its 500+ levels. How many times it happens that you are about to finish a certain level and then run out of moves? How many times you are left frustrated trying to cross a level for weeks and no matter what you do, you are just not able to clear? And then all of a sudden, one day everything seems to fall in place on its own, colors match, stripped candies form, color bombs go off and voila, you have crossed the level? Answer to above questions for anyone who played this game is, “quite often” and the reason is because the game is bugged.
That is correct. It isn’t you playing the game but its the game playing you. Candy Crush is designed to keep you entertained, keep you hooked but at the same time its also designed to keep you frustrated so that it can keep its makers rich.
1. You are given a limited number of lives in a certain amount of time. If you consume it all, you have to wait another half hour to get another life so you could continue playing. But with that comes another option, pay a nominal amount to get more lives.
2. Unlike th old Tetris game and several other based on the same concept, you do not get unlimited moves. With candy crush, your number of moves is limited and If you need more, you will have to pay again.
3. At several levels, you are about to finish the game but you can not really do anything unless the game throws the candies of a certain color that you need and it wont do it until you are left with only a couple of more moves. It will deliberately leave you at a time when all you needed were a few more moves to finish the level and just when it throws at you a “level failed” pop-up, there comes another one asking you to pay to buy more moves.
4. You will be stuck for weeks at certain levels and no matter what you do, you cant just cross it and with the number of lives limited, your frustration grows. This is the very same feeling of frustration that this game is capitalizing on. This is the very feeling that the makers have en cashed into millions. For weeks you will keep trying to clear the level and one of these days you may just end up paying.
5. Another clever strategy is that if you are a hard nut and just wont shed a penny no matter what, the game will let you off the hook eventually and the logic is quite logical. What is the point of keeping a person stuck at the same level because sooner or later, if you do not cross you will eventually stop playing which will kill the chance of you paying at some future level. After weeks of trying, one day everything would kind of happen on its own and you will easily cross the level but it isn’t really you. Its the game that is finally letting you move to another level to test if you will pay there. Clever, isn’t it?
6. Like every game, even candy crush has some added powers like color bombs and stripped candies but those too aren’t free.
In the end, a very basic concept of basic economics. the law of demand and supply. First create the demand and then provide the supply at a very nominal price which wouldn’t really seem to burn a hole in your pocket. If
you pay close heed, this game is anything but free. It is a very clever design of illusion. They promoted it as free but the message is very clear, you want to keep playing candy crush than you gotta pay for it.
Its not really the player playing the game but its actually the game playing the player for money. Like other games where you have a fair chance and controls are in your hands, candy crush is designed to keep nagging you for money. It will keep you playing for months and keep testing your patience.