Don’t Bank on Winning the Lottery

Last week I wrote 5 Reasons Why Candy Crush Saga Is So Addictive. In it I interview people I know, real players who are addicted to Candy Crush Saga, to try to identify what makes it so addictive. I thought we, as solo and micro-team developers, could learn from that, and apply it to our own games.

After I wrote about it, I thought about what it means to try to make the next Candy Crush Saga. Is that even what we as micro-indies should aspire to?

Candy Crush Saga, last I checked, is estimated to be bringing in over $800,000 for King every day. But even that’s small potatoes compared to Puzzle and Dragon.

I watched a great talk by Seth Allison , a mobile game designer with GSN. He mentioned a game from Japan, Puzzle and Dragon, which was making $4.5 million dollars a day. That drives the company’s market cap higher than Nintendo’s.

Wow. Think about that. That’s like winning the lottery every day of the year. From one mobile game.

But I don’t want you to get the wrong message. I don’t think you should aim to make a mega-hit. You won’t do it. Don’t even try.

Winning the lottery would be fantastic, sure. But do you really need that to be successful? Could you, quite possibly, be happier with a smaller piece of the pie?

You don’t need to be a financial adviser to understand you shouldn’t base your budget on winning the lottery. The odds are astronomical. You don’t (I hope) try to budget as many of your dollars every day towards buying more lottery tickets. So why use a single marketing dollar to try to replicate a success like Candy Crush Saga?

Does that mean you’ll be stuck eating Ramen noodles forever? Or working a day job to pay the bills?

Most definitely, NO. The dev world is filled with success stories from solo and two- or three-person teams who’ve made a good living off their game–without hitting the App Store’s chart of Top Grossing Apps.

I talked to one such developer. A programmer who made his own game (art and all!), he’s now making six figures a year. I was excited and inspired to hear how he did it, and I know you will be too. I’ll share it with you next week.

In the meantime, I think it’s a good idea to learn what you can from games like Candy Crush Saga and Puzzle and Dragon. What are they doing to get and retain players? How are they monetizing in such a big way?

So I’m sending it to you anyway. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.


P.S. Next week’s story–about the solo dev who makes six figures from his game–really inspired me, and I know it will inspire you too. Take a minute to sign up (below) so you don’t miss out.

Author Photo--Charlyn KeatingAbout the Author: Charlyn Keating is equal parts business, creative and tech. She brings proven success in online marketing to the app and games world, helping you level up so you can earn the players and profit you deserve.


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