Sequel to Candy Crush aims for sweet success

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Sequel to Candy Crush aims for sweet success

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Korean models pose with the Candy Crush Soda Saga game displayed on a tablet PC at a museum where the app’s launch event was held in Seoul on Thursday. [NEWSIS]

The London-based mobile game publisher King Digital Entertainment introduced a sequel to its popular Candy Crush Saga game in Seoul on Thursday, heralding an end to its low profile since it began operations here last April.

The new game, called Candy Crush Soda Saga, differs from its predecessor in that it includes more candies with varying functions. Both puzzle games are the same in that players must match sweets and create specific combos to complete each level.

“Under the development mission ‘bitesize entertainment,’ we have been trying to introduce games that are easy but hard to master,” said Brian Oh, general manager of King’s Korean operation during the launch event at a hotel in central Seoul.

He added Korea is the most important market in Asia, along with China and Japan, and that the release of Candy Crush Soda here signals a more robust activity for the company’s Korean operation.

King has already achieved a huge international hit with Candy Crush Saga, which is similar to Anipang, a Korean mobile game serviced through KakaoTalk, the country’s most popular mobile messenger. King runs five mobile games worldwide with daily average users of nearly 150 million. The addition of the Soda version means that there are now three localized versions of the company’s games available on Korean iTunes or Google Play stores. Oh said the Korean office will release the rest of the games in a year.

In Korea, where programs on Android platforms make up more than 80 percent of the entire mobile game market, Candy Crush Saga posted the second-largest revenue of any game on the Google Play store last year. It currently ranks third in the top-grossing chart on the Apple App Store in the United States, whereas its follow-up, released last November in some other countries, is the fifth-largest grossing game on the U.S. App Store right now.

The company began trading on the New York Stock Exchange last March.

The Candy Crush games are free to download and use, but extra playing time or virtual goodies cost money. Although most users will choose to wait until they receive more lives, which are limited to five but are replenished after a certain time has passed, the small percentage who make purchases spend a lot, serving as a major contributor to King’s revenue.

BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]

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