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PGC: King's success has been all about fan engagement and word of mouth, says Tommy Palm

PGC: King's success has been all about fan engagement and word of mouth, says Tommy Palm

Following the opening speech for Pocket Gamer Connects 2014 from Steel Media MD Chris James, in which he highlighted that much had changed in mobile over the last ten years, Tommy Palm, King's Games Guru, was introduced to the stage.

Giving a short talk on The Dawn of the Global Games Publishers, Palm echoed James' sentiments of rapid and extreme change within the mobile games business.

"In 1997 I was at a technical university, and a friend showed me a Nokia 6110" he explained. On the device was "a simple game" but, crucially "it was multiplayer".

He went on to explain that this was the point he knew he wanted to go into this area of games.

But the market was very different back then, of course.
"People would get a new phone, download a few games, and feel ripped off".

This was "until the App Store came along and changed all this. It was really the simplicity that changed the games market into the space it is today".

Playing for success

Palm went on to highlight another flagship moment in mobile games: Andreas Illiger's one-man success story in 2010 with Tiny Wings, which he described as "a fantastic game".

Returning to the present day, Palm unveiled statistics about King that he admitted "came as a shock" when he researched the numbers.

The most shocking of these, undoubtedly, is that Candy Crush Saga's one year anniversary saw the game enjoying half a billion installs.

Palm highlighted that for a title (and a business) to be successful today, "Marketing and discovery needs to go into game concepts really early on".

Also at King, "We don't just need a great pipeline of making great games. We also need a fan base to continue releasing games to".

All about the fans

Palm reckons that where previously you didn't have a direct connection to consumers, today social media and cross promotion has helped companies keep in touch with their customers.

Platforms such as Facebook, and the simple integration of the platform into King's games, has yielded 59.6 million fans on Candy Crush Saga's Facebook page alone.

"A connection with fans is one of the biggest strengths you can have" he noted, adding "The most important channel for Candy Crush has been word of mouth".

Currently this strength has ensured that of the top 12 grossing games on Android, King has four of them.

Going East

There's still room to improve though. "There's definitely a few countries not represented" he said, pointing to interest in the Candy Crush brand via Google Analytics.

"One of our clear potential growth areas is Asia".

This is no doubt a factor in King recently partnering with mobile messaging app KakaoTalk.

To the future, and Palm believes there are three key trends in the coming months and years.

The first is that "opportunity will continue to grow" in the space, while at the same time we'll continue to see "fewer companies in the top grossing chart".

He also emphasised the importance of social elements, and that they should be a core strategy for businesses looking for success, moving forward.


Die hard Suda 51 fan and professed Cherry Coke addict, Peter Willington was initially set for a career in showbiz, training for half a decade to walk the boards. Realising that there's no money in acting, he decided instead to make his fortune in writing about video games. Peter never learns from his mistakes.

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