Why it matters: Candy Crush Saga might not make the same number of headlines as it did a few years ago, but its player base is still enormous. Around 270 million people continue to enjoy matching three or more types of candy on their mobile device, and according to one company executive, more than 9 million of those spend between three to six hours per day on the game.
As reported by The Guardian, Alex Dale, a senior exec at Candy Crush maker King, revealed the figures at a UK House of Commons select committee investigating immersive and addictive technologies.
Additionally, Dale revealed that one Candy Crush player spent $2,600 on microtransactions in a single day last year, but he still believes there isn't an addiction problem among its players.
“Among 270 million players we have between two and three contacts a month from people concerned about having spent too much money or time on the game,” he said. “It is a very, very small number who spend or play at high levels. When we speak to them they say they are happy with what they are doing.”
Dale said 0.16 percent, or 432,000 of its total number of players, spend six hours or more per day on Candy Crush, while 3.4 percent (9.2 million) play for three hours or more each day. He added that many players come from demographics with “plenty of time on their hands,” including older people and those convalescing.
The person who spent $2,600 on Candy Crush’s gold bar currency was making a “rational decision” because they were taking advantage of a sale and used them up over seven months, according to Dale. “It is down to player choice if that is what they want to do,” the senior executive added.
So-called ‘gaming addiction’ has come under the spotlight following the World Health Organization’s decision to classify it as an official disorder. Dale said that King, which was acquired by Activision Blizzard in 2016 for $5.9 billion, used to send emails to players who spent over $250 a week for the first time, but this wasn’t appreciated or effective. He added the company will now look at the whole area of addiction again.