Candy Crush Saga “Games Guru” Tommy Palm sits relaxed and attentive in the lobby of the Los Angeles, JW Marriot—right across the hall from an exclusive party thrown by social media behemoth Facebook. Tommy’s invited VIP-style, but he’s too cool to scurry in past the trio of people who just had their elbow rubbing dreams crushed by the doorman. Nope, Mr. Palm got this. Instead he sits back in a suit so fly it looks straight out of a spy movie and he cracks jokes about video games. When you’ve got a video game that’s topping the charts of iTunes, Google Play and Facebook, laughter has got to feel a lot different. "We already knew we had a hit on our hands with Candy Crush Saga," Tommy says after taking a swig from his bottled water. "We had a small competition on the team where we all tried to guess how popular it was going to get and no one even came close."
"Candy Crush Saga is played more that 500 million times a day on mobile alone. It's played by over 15 million people on Facebook and people saying that it's passed Angry Birds too so the assumption is that Candy Crush Saga is the most popular game in the world right now."
The type of quick success achieved by Candy Crush Saga doesn’t happen often, especially without stacks of money being poured into promotion. There weren’t any special cross-brand publicity stunts, celebrity endorsements or vanity add-ons. CCS got its recognition the old-fashioned way, by word of mouth. The odds of getting noticed in the flood of virtual world of puzzle games on both mobile and Facebook is slim. So slim that a game like Candy Crush Saga shouldn’t have become the household name that it is. It was its addictive gameplay and non-obtrusive social media philosophy that got people talking and eventually helped it to spread as the new big thing. Everyone is obsessed with "clearing the jelly" and wiping out the sugary obstacles from the game’s 350-plus levels. It wasn't a surprise over at King that the game would do well but they never imagined this level of fandom. "When you see the type of dedicated fan art and appreciation for the game, it reminds you of why you got into the games industry to begin with," Tommy says with a proud grin. "We've been very positively surprised by how big a phenomenon this is. In some countries like Hong Kong, we're really big. One out of seven people there is playing Candy Crush Saga."