Here’s what Candy Crush achieved for its maker King Digital Entertainment – over half a billion downloads, 93 million daily players, and nearly $800,000 daily earnings through players purchasing new lives and boosters. A runaway success story which inspires everyone to dream big. If you are a developer, don’t get taken up by the mind-boggling stats. Instead focus on where they went right — keeping users engaged so that they keep coming back to the app.
First off, it’s simple and stupid. A preschooler concept wherein one just has to match three candies of the same color. To start with, it’s easy to win and pass levels, evoking a strong sense of accomplishment. As we play, the game gets harder, and the wins, few and far between. Note, if the game remained as easy as it begins, we’d quickly tire of the jellybeans. It is this wait for the next triumph which addicts us to the game. The two big lesson which Candy Crush teaches us is to give control and offer hope to your app users.
Players don’t get bored with a game if they get the impression that they are in control of it. We like to be in control because it gives us the freedom to choose what, when and how we do things. When a game provides this in good measure, we relate to it and slowly get obsessed with it. It’s precisely because of this that games that allow us to tinker with a character’s dress or hairdo or choose the types of vegetables we grow on our virtual farm easily have a growing. So, if you looking to develop an addictive app, you need to work towards creating something which empowers users to influence the outcome.
As we pass the levels in Candy Crush, we can never predict when we’re going to win, but we win just often enough to keep coming back for more. The game caters to our innate belief that we can re-gain what we’ve lost if we try harder. It’s akin to a losing gambler’s belief that he can win back the money he lost if he keeps betting. You need to incorporate this principle of hope into your game. More the hope you offer to your app users, the better are your chances of turning them into addicts.
While these two critical aspects can go a long way to lend an abiding value to your app, you should also avoid going for an overkill by trying to make the game too exciting. Keep the concept stupidly simple so that casual and hardcore gamers get easily attracted to your app.
King Digital Entertainment was the first to realize this. It has, in many a ways, shown us the way to build gaming apps.