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candycrushsagaCandy Crush Saga would be perhaps an ill-fitting choice for the game of 2013: it was hardly the “best” game of the year by traditional “Game of the Year” metrics, and it didn’t even release in 2013. But Candy Crush Saga was still the game that defined mobile gaming in 2013.

There weren’t many games that were the cultural phenomenon that Candy Crush Saga was: walk down the aisle of an airplane and there was always someone on a tablet or phone matching fruits around. It was the one mobile game that friends who never talked about mobile gaming would talk about. And it wasn’t just casual gamers: anyone who’s friends with Touch Arcade editor Eli Hodapp on Facebook suffered the wrath of his lives requests for a while there.

The thing that was most fascinating about Candy Crush Saga, though? Did anyone really have an unequivocal, gushing love for it? Whenever the game would be brought up, there was always some degree of resentment toward it for being so addictive, in the sense that people just could not stop playing, paying, and bugging their Facebook friends with requests.

candycrushsaga5candycrushsaga3That’s why it’s the game of 2013 – it squarely represents this new era of games that want to create habitual addictions and then rake in the profits. Candy Crush Saga was the best at doing just that. It ruled the iOS top grossing charts at either number one or number two for most of the year, only periodically switching places with Clash of Clans. And Clash of Clans was not talked about nearly as much – and it was not near the financial success considering it was iOS-only for most of the year. Candy Crush Saga dominated on Android and Facebook, too.

Google Trends results showing Candy Crush Saga vs. Clash of Clans in 2013. While Candy Crush has definitely peaked in terms of popular interest, it's still way ahead in popularity of Supercell's hit game.

Google Trends results showing Candy Crush Saga (red) vs. Clash of Clans (blue) in 2013. While Candy Crush Saga has definitely peaked in terms of popular interest, it’s still way ahead in popularity of Supercell’s fellow hit.


candycrushsocksAnd for one game to be so dominant for so much time? That is unheard of. The App Store has always been a place of violent change, but no; Candy Crush Saga wormed its way to the top and stayed there.

And by doing so, it’s pulling down major amounts of money – it’s been estimated that it makes over $910,000 per day. While this number has varied even down to $633,000 earlier in the year, King has publicly revealed that they’ve made over half a billion dollars on the game. They have half a billion installations as well, see a billion plays per day, and they’ll likely make a billion dollars US in 2013 alone. King are truly monarchs of mobile and free-to-play.

But really, that’s the impact of the Candy Crush Saga: what other game has had such reach that it became this cultural phenomenon, and has changed the very shape of the App Store itself? Other games may have made money, and Supercell could certainly debate the importance of Clash of Clans and Hay Day, but perhaps no other game at all can say that. And it represents a future for games that everyone is going to imitate. This game raised the bar – at least for what mobile can do monetarily. Given everything about it, it is perhaps the one game that defined 2013.

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