Player spent £2,000 on Candy Crush in one day – then spent £800 months later

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LAST year one player spent £2,000 on Candy Crush in a single day – and then spent another £700 just months later.

King, who develop the popular puzzle-match game, revealed that the first purchase was the most a single player spent in a single day last year when giving evidence to a Parliamentary probe into game addiction.

It is possible to spend up to £99.99 a time in the Candy Crush app

All the Candy Crush games are free to play, but players can buy ‘gold bars’ in game which can then be used to get extra moves to try and finish any given level, or power-ups to make it easier earlier on.

Alex Dale, King’s head of new games, was keen to point out that all his firm’s games “can be played and completed without paying anything”, and that this is how “the vast majority” of players play.

The highest-spending players tend to play for one or two hours a day, Dale said, compared to 38 minutes a day for the average active player.

He admitted that some players do play for much more than that, though, with 3.4 per cent of daily players playing for more than three hours and 0.16 per cent playing for more than six hours.

While 272 million people will open King apps – such as Candy Crush, Pet Rescue Saga, Bubble Witch, and others – every month, the company doesn’t disclose what proportion of those 272 million gamers play the game every day.

The playing time figures don’t actually measure the time people are actively playing either, but just the amount of time that the app is open, Dale said.

What is video game addiction?

Here's everything you need to know…

  • Around 2.2billion people worldwide play video games
  • Some researchers have claimed as many as 1 in 25 may be ‘addicted’
  • That means there may be as many as 90million video game addicts worldwide
  • Playing games, like any enjoyable activity, releases dopamine in your brain, which makes people want to come back for more
  • In this sense, video game addiction is very similar to gambling addiction
  • Symptoms include a loss of interest in your social life, feelings of restlessness or irritability when unable to play, and lying to friends and family about time spent playing
  • Men aged 18-24 are most at risk

Candy Crush Friends Saga, the newest game in the franchise, broke records when it launched last year
Getty Images – Getty

Defending against claims of addiction, he pointed out a typical user might have Candy Crush open almost all the time that they’re watching telly, but only actually play it during advert breaks.

He also cited other examples, including a woman who played extensively during harrowing cancer treatment, and others who had used the game to aid mental rehabilitation after head trauma.

He revealed that the highest single-day purchase made last year was one player who spent £2,000 in a single day, during a sale.

That player used their purchases over the course of the next seven months, Dale said, before dropping another £700 to top up their supply.

The feedback they get from regular players is that they feel they get “good value” from the game, and are happy with their own spending, he said.

Under pressure from MPs to reveal what King did to monitor players for “harmful” behaviour and intervene if they thought players might be spending or playing too much, Dale revealed that the firm used to email players who spent $250 (£200) in a day for the first time.

They stopped this several years ago due to the reaction to these emails being almost universally negative, and feedback from players that this sort of contact was too intrusive.

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He went on to say that every month, two or three players reach out to King for help regarding how much they’re playing or spending.

In rare cases, King will lock players out of their own accounts, if asked, to help with such problems.

King’s parent company, Activision Blizzard, revealed that King’s games revenue was around £1.5 billion in 2018.

That’s equivalent to about £5.50 for every monthly active user – or 0.04 pence per minute played over the course of a year for the average player.

There are currently four different Candy Crush games – Candy Crush Saga, Candy Crush Soda Saga, Candy Crush Jelly Saga and the most recent addition, Candy Crush Friends Saga.

How can I tell if I'm addicted?

THE WHO revealed nine criteria for gaming disorder – if five or more apply to you, you may be officially an addict.

  1. preoccupation with games
  2. withdrawal symptoms when gaming is taken away
  3. tolerance, resulting in the need to spend increasing amounts of time engaged in games
  4. unsuccessful attempts to control participation in games
  5. loss of interest in previous hobbies and entertainment as a result of, and with the exception of, games
  6. continued excessive use of games despite knowledge of psychosocial problems
  7. deceiving family members, therapists, or others regarding the amount of gaming
  8. use of games to escape or relieve negative moods
  9. jeopardizing or losing a significant relationship, job, or education or career opportunity because of participation in games.

Take the test online here.


That is in contrast to players of the recently released Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, who have labelled the wizarding game a “disgusting cash grab”.

In its first four days it has only made £870,000, compared to the £22million trousered from Pokémon’s opening 96 hours according to mobile data firm Sensor Tower.

King’s evidence to Parliament’s Immersive and Addictive Games enquiry came a week after Fortnite-maker Epic Games’ floundered in front of the same committee.

They were “taken aback” by Prince Harry’s call to ban Fortnite, and even bizarrely challenged claims Epic made money from the game, from which Epic trousered £4 million every day in 2018.


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