Update: This article originally said that non-Candy Crush games had made $324 million. That is incorrect. The number is for all games that aren’t Candy Crush Saga, but it does include Candy Crush Soda Saga. I apologize for the error.
It takes two, babe — two Candy Crush games to help keep King on top.
The mobile-gaming publisher, which is responsible for Candy Crush Saga and Candy Crush Soda Saga, reported revenue of $546 million for the fourth quarter. That is up 6 percent from Q3. That helped it bring in earnings of 57 cents per share, which beat Wall Street estimates of 47 cents. Investors are loving this report, and King’s stock price is trading at around $16.86 after hours. That’s up more than 14 percent compared to today’s closing price, and it’s a new high for 2015. The market is especially thrilled with King growing its player base as the Candy Crush games and other Saga releases all seemed to attract a significant number of new gamers.
King also announced plans to repurchase shares as well as a 94 cent per-share dividend. These maneuvers are also pushing up the stock price.
The publisher has clearly found some new life thanks to Candy Crush Soda Saga. King notes that the Candy Crush franchise was losing daily active players (DAUs) for a few quarter before the Soda rejuvenation. Now, the company’s total DAUs are up to 149 million, which is a 20 percent year over year increase. Monthly average players were up 31 percent year over year to 533 million, with monthly unique players up 17 percent to 356 million.
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While the company is drawing in new players, it is also extracting more money from them as well. Monthly gross average bookings per paying user — which is known by the insane acronym of MGABPPU — was up 35 percent year over year to $23.42. This was a large contributor to King’s earnings beat. The game maker points out that it is a result of both more people paying money — and those who do spend are paying more.
The only big decline in King’s player metrics was monthly unique payers. It was down 31 percent year over year to 8.3 million.
While Candy Crush Saga still a big part of what’s paying for the whipped cream on King’s pumpkin pie, the company notes that it generated $324 million from its other games (although one of those is Candy Crush Soda Saga). That makes up 55 percent of the company’s total gross bookings for the quarter. That is a year over year increase of 137 percent. This is another area where investors are seeing King maturing into a healthy opportunity. The company is making money, and its marquee hit is performing very well — and at the same time, it is finding success with other games as well. That diversification is something that the market has long asked King to provide.
Looking forward, King is predicting it will generated $575 million to $600 million during Q1 of 2015.