One of the top-grossing social developers in the world is seeking further fortune in China.
Candy Crush Saga maker King revealed that it’s partnering with gaming, tech, and investment giant Tencent to release the popular social puzzle game in China. The app, which has players matching up three or more sweets to make them disintegrate, will debut soon on Tencent’s QQ and Weixin game-discovery portals, which make up a gigantic portion of Chinese mobile-app downloads. Candy Crush Saga was the top-grossing app (game or otherwise) in 2013, and an expansion into the $1.8 billion Chinese market may help it maintain that momentum throughout 2014 — especially as the nation’s smartphone and tablet game market is growing at a very fast pace.
“I am thrilled to be launching Candy Crush Saga with Tencent in China,” King chief executive Riccardo Zacconi said in a statement. “Tencent has the largest mobile social network in China and is a great partner to work with. I look forward to working together to make Candy Crush Saga as popular in China as in the rest of the world.”
This expands Candy Crush Saga’s presence in Asia. King released the app for iOS and Android in Korea and Japan last year. It is especially successful in Japan, which is one of the most-important countries for mobile apps since people there tend to spend more on in-app purchases than in other countries. Candy Crush Saga is consistently in the top-10 highest-grossing games in Japan.
As for Tencent, in addition to dominating a large portion of the mobile-gaming scene in China, the company holds major investments in Western game developers and publishers. It owns Riot Games, the creator of the blockbuster online strategy game League of Legends. It holds slight less than half of Epic Games, the developer of the Unreal Engine tools that companies around the world use to make games, and it holds a small but significant portion of Activision, the publisher of first-person shooter sensation Call of Duty.
In 2013, Tencent was responsible for the two top-grossing free-to-play PC games. Its Chinese shooter CrossFire from developer SmileGate earned nearly $1 billion in microtransaction revenue worldwide. League of Legends came in second with $624 million globally.
“Tencent always hopes to bring global premier mobile games to China, and Candy Crush is one of the best,” Tencent senior vice president Steven Ma said. “We are excited that our collaboration will combine King’s enjoyable mobile gaming experience and Tencent’s strong game publishing and operation capabilities in China. We are looking forward to bringing great moments of fun to Chinese users soon.”