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Despite the strength of 'non-Candy Crush Saga business', King sees FY14 Q3 sales drop 13% to $514 million

But cash pile rises to $976 million
Despite the strength of 'non-Candy Crush Saga business', King sees FY14 Q3 sales drop 13% to $514 million

Facebook and mobile game publisher King (NYSE:KING) has announced its FY14 Q3 financials, for the three months ending 30 September 2014.

Revenue was $514 million, down 17 percent year-on-year or down 13 percent quarter-on-quarter.

However, stripping out King's #1 earner Candy Crush Saga, gross bookings (a different measure of sales) were $264 million; up 167 percent year-on-year or up 6 percent quarter-on-quarter.

Total gross bookings were $544 million, down 11 percent quarter-on-quarter and down 16 percent year-on-year.

King generated profit of $142 million, down 38 percent year-on-year or 14 percent quarter-on-quarter.

The company ended the quarter with cash and equivalents worth $976 million, up $144 million compared to Q2.

Bigger than the rest

"We have a consistent track record of developing successive hit games and as a result, have increased our non-Candy Crush Saga gross bookings to $264 million in third quarter 2014," said CEO Riccardo Zacconi.

"If annualized, this represents more than a $1 billion run rate, and makes our non-Candy Crush Saga business larger than most every other mobile gaming company.

"In addition, the board's authorization of a $150 million share repurchase program underscores our confidence in the strength of our company."

King has a lot of cash
King has a lot of cash

During the quarter, King also acquired dynamic social CRM software vendor Astrapia, which is behind the Comufy software. The price was $11.8 million with a further $5.2 million dependent on performance over the next two years.

The rise of non

In terms of its games' performance, King is keen to point out that while Candy Crush Saga remains its key game, it's building up a portfolio of other successful games.

Can King's other Saga games take the load?
Can King's other Saga games take the load?

In Q2, games other than Candy Crush Saga accounted for 41 percent of gross booking. This proportion rose to 49 percent in Q3.

During the quarter it launched Diamond Digger Saga, its fourth mobile release during 2014. It also had four titles - including Candy Crush Saga - in the US top 15 top grossing charts on the App Store and Google Play.

Players versus payers

More generally , King saw its active monthly unique player base rise 3 million compared to the previous quarter to 348 million, although daily active players were down 1 million to 28 million.

And more worryingly, the players it generates revenue from - Monthly Unique Payers - dropped 1.8 million, or 17 percent, to 8.7 million.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, King prefered to focus on another metric; Monthly Gross Average Bookings per Paying User (MGABPPU). This was up 7 percent quarter-on-quarter to $20.92.

The rise of non-<em>Candy Crush Saga</em>
The rise of non-Candy Crush Saga

"We believe the increase in MGABPPU reflects our retention of our more engaged customers as we have seen that payers who play in more than one game tend to spend more," King noted.

"We believe the sequential decline in MUPs was primarily a result of reduced payment activity among the less engaged payers on the network."

In addition, King is moving over to a virtual currency approach to its games including in Candy Crush Saga; something it expects to increase per payer revenue.

[source: King]