Zynga went public over the popularity of a few hit Facebook games, and is now in the process of collapsing into a mush pit. Now the makers of Candy Crush Saga, the jellybean puzzle game gripping the brains of America, are plotting an IPO, the Wall Street Journal reports. First as tragedy, then as farce.
There's no denying the maddening appeal of Candy Crush: it's basically the same god damned Bejewled clone we've been playing forever, but King, the team behind Crush, were able to tweak the old formula enough to send their game to the top of the iTunes chart. It's the absolute, diabolically perfect mix of tormenting addiction and genuine fun.
But more importantly, they're getting us to put real money into gumdrop powerups—the title is the second most popular free app for iPhones, but the top-grossing app overall. A dollar at a time, candy puzzle addicts are dumping credit card transactions like slot machine-addled Atlantic City junkies. It's a tremendous financial success.
So, why not reach for an IPO? Because it's gone so, so wrong before. Basing an entire IPO on the success of one (very big) hit presumes the success of future hits that are just as big, if not bigger—because remember, one day people will stop playing Candy Crush. Just like they stopped playing FarmVille. You'll need Egg Crush, Cupcake Blush Epic, Bubble Gem Marauder, and on, and on. These games are ultra-hits because they latch onto our minute attention spans, and the same brain deficiencies that make them stars will wash them away when the next fun bathroom game comes along. And then what's up for King's shareholders? They'll be joining Zynga's ex-staffers at the bar.