“Billions of Hours Wasted”, as the Wall Street Journal puts it. The insanely addictive mobile game Candy Crush will now be released through China’s most popular messaging app, and the country’s productivity is expected to hit an all-time low.
In an announcement Wednesday, Tencent Holdings Ltd.TCEHY -2.60% said it would cooperate with King Digital Entertainment PLC to release the highly addictive game in China through its popular mobile messaging platform WeChat.
The new cooperation with Tencent is likely to help King Digital, which last month suffered the worst first-day trading of any IPO this year. Though King generated $586 million in net income in 2013 on revenues of $1.9 billion, China could offer a new source of growth for the company. The size of China’s mobile-games industry could double this year to 22 billion yuan ($3.5 billion), and continue growing at a rate of 60% for the next three years, according to CLSA analyst Elinor Leung.
The game can already be downloaded on Apple’s app store, and while it has a small following in China, the launch through Tencent might address some of the limitations put on gamers in the country to help its expansion in the market.
As WSJ points out (I do not play this game), players on Candy Crush can send out requests to Facebook friends for new lives, but with Facebook being blocked in China, people have to wait a half an hour to play again for free. One (ex-) player said in the report that many of her friends switched to other games last year because there was no way to connect with one another on social media.
“If the game is relaunched on WeChat, and my friends send me requests for lives, I’ll start playing it again,” she said.
If that’s the general consensus among all of WeChat’s 300 million+ users in China, we’re in for some soundless subway rides. And possibly more of this.