It’s only February, and already 2014 has been, and will be, a big year for Candy Crush Saga publisher King. Not two months ago, the company was recently granted a trademark for the term “candy” with regards to video game software, and just this week the company further detailed plans for an IPO (initial public offering).
As part of their IPO, King was forced to offer compelling evidence to potential investors as to why their company will be worth the investment. And, as it turns out, King is quite the moneymaking machine, with hundreds of millions of customers worldwide.
For starters, King estimates that some 500 million mobile devices have downloaded at least one King game. They also estimate that, of that 500 million, about 408 million users play at least game once a month and about 124 million play once a day.
Obviously, the company’s real bread and butter is Candy Crush Saga, the relatively simple mobile game at the center of King’s recent gamer backlash. Even so, Candy Crush is a huge point of interest for King, generating about 39 cents in profit per user. That might not seem like a lot, but given the low costs associated with King’s game development it’s actually pretty significant.
While there are certainly positives surrounding King as a potential investment, the bad PR that the company has been navigating for the past month or so might signal a red flag to some. For example, the company received a considerable amount of flack after serving a trademark dispute to developer Stoic Games over their indie title The Banner Saga. Not because The Banner Saga resembles any of King’s games, mind you, but because the game has “saga” in the title.
More recently, King has come under fire after allegations it had copied Candy Crush Saga‘s concept from the game Candy Swipe. There’s no denying that Candy Crush (2012) bears a striking resemblance to Candy Swipe (2010), but King apparently doesn’t see it that way. Rather, they are filing suit against Candy Swipe developer Albert Ransom to have his trademark disallowed.
It might seem like such an act is impossible, but not so when legal circumvention is involved. See, King is using a game called Candy Crusher (2004) that they recently purchased as the platform from which to file their Candy Swipe dispute. Like with The Banner Saga situation, King is trying to muscle their way out of any problem, so as to “protect” their precious brands.
There are both good and bad sides to the King IPO, which is slated to take place later this year. There’s no denying the company is a massive moneymaker, but so were companies like Zynga before going public. It’s never a good idea to underestimate how a little bad PR can undermine a financially successful endeavor, especially with a group as vocal as gamers.
Do you think King will have a successful IPO? When will the King Games madness stop?