Is Poker and Candy taking over the Gaming Industry?

It looks like King, the arcade game developer of hits like Candy Crush Saga, Bubble Witch Saga, and Papa Pear are continually raking in the popularity of its games. In recent news, it seems the current star of web-based gaming is off to a new business venture.

In a report by Tara Clarke of the finance news site,, “A Candy Crush Saga IPO could be in the offing as its maker King is lining up banks to put together a U.S. initial public offering.”

Online gaming is truly becoming a hit especially with the steady increase of smartphone and tablet users. As Clarke details, “Online gaming is a billion dollar industry, and mobile gaming is at an all-time high. Sales are projected to be more than $9.9 billion this year alone, up 13.5% from 2012.”

However, not at all gaming companies are successful in their online ventures. Microsoft had the experience of receiving overwhelming complaints after the public release of their newest console, the Xbox One. Thinking that online gaming would be the new norm, their gaming policy requiring players to always connect to the internet even if a game is to be played offline received a vast number of complaints and rants. In an announcement reported by USA Today, “The company (Microsoft) announced it is dropping two major features of its next-generation console: regular online authenticity checks required to play video games offline and restrictions on what players can do with games after purchase.”

On the positive side of the issue, there are actually two “recently coined” gaming categories that are really prevalent on the internet. The two new types of games that are conquering the online market are the “Freemium” games and the “social games”.

Freemium games can actually be social games. In a more specific definition, however, freemiums are the free-to-play games which include in-app or in-game purchases for easier progression within the game. Candy Crush is a perfect example of a freemium game model that is also a social game. As Clarke highlights in her article, “King’s game Candy Crush Saga is presently the #1 game on Facebook and the 2nd-most popular free game available on Apple Inc.’s App Store.”

The Social games category has a broader scope. It is any game genre that directly or indirectly requires the player to interact with other human players to actually play or progress in the game. A perfect example of a social game is Partypoker. The online card game developer has become an authority in poker entertainment in just a few years time and is recently the major sponsor of one of the most prestigious poker tournaments held globally, the World Poker Tour.

Going back to game developer King’s situation, their plan to have an initial public offering is being surrounded by both excitement and worry. King’s plans are not actually unique. In just the recent past, former gaming giant Zynga also decided to go public. That decision lead to a chain of unfortunate events for the game company behind Farmville and Mafia Wars. For more of the comparison, go ahead and read through Tara Clarke’s article.