Candy Crush Saga Leads European Game Charge on Facebook

Despite global cuts and freezing temperatures, when it comes to gaming fun, it’s Europe where most of the action is happening.

The continent’s computer games developers are creating some of the most popular games on Facebook, with London-based King.com and its “Candy Crush Saga” game leading the charge.

The puzzle game, which involves moving sweets to make a line of three the same color, is being played by more than 9.7 million people every day on the social network, making it the most popular game in terms of active daily users.

The top position on the chart, compiled by market researcher AppData, is more often occupied by a game from San Francisco-based Zynga, such as its “Farmville 2,” which “Candy Crush Saga” unseated.

Julien Codorniou, Facebook’s head of European gaming says “Candy Crush Saga” is typical of the games coming from Europe that can be played on smartphones as well as on the Facebook platform.

“The European gaming developers are really taking over,” he says. “If you look at the top 10 gaming companies on Facebook a year ago, you only had one company, which was Wooga in Germany. Today you have six out of the 10, so there’s really something happening here.”

The most popular games are not revolutionary, he says, but they are social by design and they are fun because you play with your friends.

Alex Dale, King.com’s chief marketing officer, says the games appeal to people, more and more of them women, who are not able to spend hours learning how to play console games.

“They want something that is going to deliver a burst of fun during the day, maybe during their commute,” he says.

The fact that the games could be started on Android-based smartphones or iPhones and picked up later on Facebook add to their appeal, he says.

“The European gaming developers are really taking over. If you look at the top 10 gaming companies on Facebook a year ago, you only had one company, which was Wooga in Germany. Today you have six out of the 10, so there’s really something happening here.”

Julien Codorniou

Facebook

Facebook’s Codorniou says European-based developers, such as “Angry Birds” developer Rovio, Wooga as well as King.com, understand how to successfully develop games across platforms.

“The bigger you are on Facebook, the bigger you are in mobile,” he says. “Eighteen months ago King.com decided to embrace the Facebook platform and amazing things happened.”

The venture-backed company says it has now generated more than 5 billion monthly game plays across all platforms.

King.com, which has main offices in London and Stockholm, has been profitable for seven years, and it has not raised an investment round since 2005, when it raised €34 million ($45 million) from venture firms Apax Partners and Index Ventures.

The story was written by Paul Sandle, with additional editing by Alastair Goldfisher.