Wed, Sep 18, 2013 - Page 13 News List

‘Games Guru’ surprised by ‘Candy Crush’ success

EASY TO SHARE:Tommy Palm attributed the game’s popularity in Taiwan to its simplicity, the timing of its release and the many users of smartphones here

Staff writer, with CNA

The man behind popular game Candy Crush Saga said on Monday he is surprised by — and excited about — the game’s popularity in Taiwan.

Speaking at the Taipei International Digital Content Summit and Fair (Digital Taipei), Tommy Palm, dubbed the “Games Guru” at social games company King, said that about 3 million people in Taiwan play the puzzle game, which first launched as a Facebook app, before being ported to smartphones late last year.

He said he was excited when he saw people playing his game when he arrived in Taiwan, fulfilling a longtime dream that he would one day happen across people playing a game that he had developed.

In keeping with Digital Taipei’s theme of exchanges within the industry, Palm shared his design philosophy with the audience.

Games are a social channel for sharing and discussion, he said, and the simplicity of Candy Crush Saga is what makes it so easy for people to share with one another.

The 14-year veteran of game design also attributed the success of the game to the large number of smartphone users in Taiwan and the timing of its release.

However, it has not proven as popular in Palm’s native Sweden, where gamers prefer console gaming, he said.

Noting that one of King’s focuses is game localization, Palm said he would take home what he learns during his trip to Taiwan, his first to a Chinese-speaking nation.

However, the company does not yet have any partnerships in Taiwan or China, Palm said.

Candy Crush developer King has attracted 100 million users of the game worldwide.

In Taiwan, the penetration rate of smartphone increased to 51 percent in the first quarter of this year from 32 percent a year ago, according to a survey released by search giant Google Inc on its Web site in May.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Taiwan lagged behind South Korea’s 80 percent, Hong Kong’s 77 percent and Singapore’s 73 percent in terms of smartphone penetration, the survey showed.

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