Founded in Sweden in 2003, King is a video game developer that is most famous for its blockbuster gaming hit, Candy Crush Saga. The developer’s revenue reached 2.58 billion U.S. dollars in 2021, a marked increase from revenue of less than 60 million U.S. dollars in 2010.
King of the developers
In its early years in the social gaming world, King relied on in-game advertising and micro-transactions to generate revenue. The latter enabled players to make in-game purchases to improve their virtual world or help them past a particularly tricky level. However, in a move to win over its legion of fans, the company decided to remove all in-game advertising in June 2013 and focused on micro-transactions to bring in the money. This strategy seemed to pay off as the monthly active users of King continued to increase and peaked at 550 million users at the beginning of 2015. However, the MAU figure has been steadily falling in the ensuing years and the company was acquired in February 2016 by Activision Blizzard, famed for games such as World of Warcraft and Overwatch, in a deal worth almost six billion U.S. dollars. The publisher has since seen an upturn in its fortunes and registered record operating income of 740 million U.S. dollars in 2019.
Candy Crush Saga – King’s jewel in the crown
The more than tenfold increase of King’s revenue between 2012 and 2013 is down to just one game – Candy Crush Saga. The colorful puzzle game became an overnight sensation and could be seen on smartphones across the world. While the game itself is free-to-play, users have the option of making in-game purchases to help them get past certain levels. This is where King’s micro-transaction revenue model truly paid off as player spending in Candy Crush mobile games worldwide reached over 1.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2018. Despite the fast-paced nature of mobile gaming and the new releases that hit our screens every day, Candy Crush Saga still remains one of the most popular free-to-play games on the market.
Net revenue generated by King from 2010 to 2021
(in million U.S. dollars)
King Digital Entertainment segment revenue as reported by Activision Blizzard
*On 23 February 2016, Activision Blizzard closed its acquisition of King for a deal of 5.9 billion U.S. dollars. After King's acquisition the company's figures are being reported in Activision Blizzards financial reporting.
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Activision Blizzard. (February 3, 2022). Net revenue generated by King from 2010 to 2021 (in million U.S. dollars) [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved July 07, 2022, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/288974/king-annual-revenue/
Activision Blizzard. "Net revenue generated by King from 2010 to 2021 (in million U.S. dollars)." Chart. February 3, 2022. Statista. Accessed July 07, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/288974/king-annual-revenue/
Activision Blizzard. (2022). Net revenue generated by King from 2010 to 2021 (in million U.S. dollars). Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: July 07, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/288974/king-annual-revenue/
Activision Blizzard. "Net Revenue Generated by King from 2010 to 2021 (in Million U.S. Dollars)." Statista, Statista Inc., 3 Feb 2022, https://www.statista.com/statistics/288974/king-annual-revenue/
Activision Blizzard, Net revenue generated by King from 2010 to 2021 (in million U.S. dollars) Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/288974/king-annual-revenue/ (last visited July 07, 2022)