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Hoping to keep its Candy-themed franchise at the top, King Digital Entertainment is launching its Candy Crush Soda Saga game on Facebook today.

King describes the new game as a “sister title” to its monster hit, Candy Crush Saga, which has stayed at the top of the charts for a couple of years and has generated more than a billion dollars in revenue. The game has been in limited testing for a while, but King is going wide with it today on Facebook on the web.

King definitely needs a new hit, as its stock price suffered after it reported disappointing earnings in the second quarter as Candy Crush Saga showed signs of decline. Gamers are expected to spend $17 billion on mobile games in 2014, but King is under pressure to come up with more games as successful as Candy Crush Saga as that game begins its inevitable decline.

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Candy Crush Soda Saga is set in the same Candy Kingdom as the earlier title. But by launching it on Facebook on the web, King is following its usual pattern of trying out its games first on Facebook, debugging them and incorporating fan feedback, and then launching them on mobile. King said it would launch the title on mobile devices in the coming weeks.

The title appears to be a way to keep Candy Crush fans from running out of things to do, as many of them have played hundreds of levels and may be getting bored.

Fans of the original hit can now switch and match their way new kinds of gameplay. The title has new graphics, game modes, and candy combinations. Much like with Candy Crush Saga, players progress on the Saga map through various episodes and levels.

“We’re excited to announce that the next installment in the Candy Crush franchise is now live on Facebook,” said Sebastian Knutsson, chief creative officer at King. “Our long-term strategy is to develop global game franchises which are loved by millions of players around the world. Candy Crush Soda Saga offers fans new gameplay features and challenges to delight in, and has been designed to complement the original title, which we believe players will also continue to enjoy.”

King has 345 million monthly unique users as of the second quarter of 2014. It has 190 games in 200 countries, but Candy Crush Saga is its top game by far.



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