The London-based game studio behind Candy Crush Saga today announced that it’s launching Pet Rescue Saga on iOS and Android early this summer, while also revealing that it has more than 70 million daily active users (DAU) across all platforms — mobile, Facebook and web.
Pet Rescue Saga, which first launched on Facebook in October 2012, joins Candy Crush Saga and Bubble Witch Saga as the third mobile title from the U.K. company. Pet Rescue Saga is a match-3 puzzler in the same vein as the mega popular Candy Crush Saga. The title will launch with more than 72 levels, providing cross-platform gameplay across mobile and Facebook, meaning a user’s game state including their leaderboards, scores and progress remain synchronized. Cross-platform play has been a feature that has shown to be very successful for King’s mobile games so far. Pet Rescue Saga for mobile was developed by King’s Malmo studio.
King’s 70 DAU is significant because it topped Zynga’s 52 million DAU, which it announced during its latest earnings call. When comparing the companies, King is a private company with 450 employees, while on the other hand, Zynga is a public company with a much larger workforce. (more…)
Farm Heroes Saga is a new Facebook game from the newly-rebranded King, released alongside the recent Papa Pear Saga. Access has been somewhat limited until recently, but the game is now open to all players, and being actively promoted via the front page of Facebook’s App Center.
Like most of King’s other games, Farm Heroes Saga takes very heavy cues from well-established puzzle game mechanics. In this case, it follows the same Bejeweled-like mold as the company’s immensely popular Candy Crush Saga, which is presently being heavily promoted in a variety of different media and topping both the MAU and DAU charts as a result. Farm Heroes Saga is presumably an attempt to ensnare the same 45.5 million (estimated) monthly active users and 15 million (estimated) daily active users who are currently playing Candy Crush Saga on a regular basis — but is releasing an almost-identical game the right way to go about it?
Farm Heroes Saga’s basic gameplay will be immediately familiar to anyone who has played Candy Crush Saga or Bejeweled. Players swap various fruits and vegetables around on a grid in an attempt to make matches of three or more like-colored objects in a horizontal or vertical row. When a match is made, it disappears, causing objects above it to drop down into the space that has been made.
Game company King today announce that it’s adding tech industry veteran and former co-founder and CEO of voice mail supplier Octel Communications Robert Cohn to its board of directors.
“We are excited to have Bob join our board given his broad experience with public and private companies across the globe and the exceptional work he has done with his current and past portfolio of businesses,” said Riccardo Zacconi, co-founder and CEO of King, in a statement.
After founding Octel Communications with Peter Olson, Cohn ran Octel as the chairperson and CEO until it was acquired by Lucent Technologies, where he then took on the role as executive vice president. He also held a position at Sequoia Capital as an investment partner as well as served on or chaired public and private boards from startups to Fortune 500 companies. Lastly, Cohn was a governor of Nasdaq for three years.
“King has seen tremendous growth over the past couple years and has become one of the most prominent companies to impact the games industry today,” said Cohn, in a statement. “I’m impressed with the team, the company’s culture, the stellar business model and the exciting challenges ahead. I look forward to serving on King’s board.”
King, which now sees 12 billion gameplay sessions a month worldwide, was last in the news when it rebranded the company from King.com to King as well as announced two new saga games for Facebook, which were Japanese Pachinko-like title Papa Pear Saga (read our review here) and match-3 puzzler Farm Heroes Saga. King’s match-3 puzzle game Candy Crush Saga was also recently named as the most downloaded free app in March for iOS globally by Distimo.
Papa Pear Saga is a new Facebook release from King, currently in open beta and available for everyone to play on the social network. The new game’s launch coincides with King’s 10-year anniversary and rebranding from King.com to just King. It’s also set to hit iOS and Android mobile devices “soon.”
Papa Pear Saga is a new take on King’s previous Web-based game Papa Pear, itself inspired by Japanese pachinko mechanics. The game also has more than a few similarities to PopCap’s popular casual game Peggle, and this is firmly in keeping with King’s track record of taking well-established, familiar casual game mechanics (match-3 in Candy Crush Saga, bubble shooting in Bubble Witch Saga and so on) and putting their own twist on them. Adopting this approach rather than creating completely original, potentially complex mechanics gives King’s games a strong sense of “pick up and play” immediacy which has doubtless contributed considerably to the strong success of titles such as Candy Crush Saga, which is currently the top game on Facebook.
The basic mechanics of Papa Pear Saga involve aiming a cannon at the top of the screen using the mouse, then firing out objects (here crash helmet-wearing pears) which subsequently bounce off an arrangement of pegs on their way down the screen. The bottom of the screen houses several buckets, and dropping the pears into the buckets scores points, as does bouncing off pegs. Other bonuses are provided for special moves such as lots of bounces in rapid succession or eliminating all of a particular type of peg off the screen, and occasionally special pegs appear that confer benefits ranging from increasing the score multiplier to making the bouncing pears increase in size. In a slight twist on Peggle’s formula, it’s possible to fire up to three pears at once instead of just one, and certain special pegs cause additional pears to appear.
King.com today announced it’s expanding its global presence by bringing localized versions of its most popular “Saga” games to both Japan and South Korea.
Both Candy Crush Saga and Bubble Witch Saga’s Facebook versions will be the first to be localized, with mobile versions following afterwards — both on iOS and Android. King.com’s localized expansion adds to the company’s continuing success on both social and mobile platforms. AppData shows Candy Crush Saga is now the top application (not just game) on Facebook, both by monthly and daily active users, and King.com says the game had more than 1 million DAU in Hong Kong alone (even before the localized version launched in that area).
We’ve heard from developers before that localizing games can give them a huge leg up over the competition. Robert Nashak of the BBC spoke to us in September about how localizing the Dancing With the Stars social web game was a huge part of the title’s ability to thrive outside of Facebook. “The games world is coming to the realization that there’s no need to have a North America-only version of a game,” he told us at the time. “If you build the game correctly and plan long term, you can win on localization alone.”
Territories like Korea and Japan, which are well-known for their populations’ voracious appetite for online games, are smart areas to expand into with localized games. While King.com has already conquered the social mobile market here in the West, doing so in Japan alone could mean a massive increase in revenue for the developer. As it was reported yesterday, Puzzle & Dragons is the top mobile game in Japan and is bringing in somewhere between $54 to $75 million each month across iOS and Android.