It's Official - Royal Match Dethroned Candy Crush!
This is a single insight from This Week in Apps - A Game Grab. Check out the full article for more insights.
Candy Crush has been crushing it for so long that it seemed like it will always continue to be the leader of the match-3 category.
But after many years in #1, the king's run has come to an end.
For three months now, a new competitor has been beating Candy Crush in new downloads and revenue!
The competitor is Royal Match, a match-3 game that launched in the summer of 2020.
Royal Match came out of the gate swinging. In January of 2021, the game brought in $208M of net revenue from the App Store and Google Play, according to our estimates. By January of 2022, that total balooned to $26M - and that's all net which is what's left after Apple and Google take their fees.
The game's meteoric revenue rise continued into 2023. Our App Intelligence shows that in January of 2023, Royal Match earned $52M of net revenue. Talk about growth!
January wasn't even Royal Match's best month. That award goes to July of 2023, where Royal Match earned a whopping $81M of net revenue.
The amazing revenue growth of Royal Match is best looked at by year:
- 2021: $144M
- 2022: $401M (+178%)
- 2023 (up to 10/13): $617M (+54%)
That means Royal Match has earned more in partial 2023 than in all of 2022 and 2021 combined. Between 2021 and October of 2023, Royal Match's revenue grew by 329%!
And while all of that was going on, Candy Crush also grew and even managed to get $30M shy of a billion dollars in 2022!
But 2023 hasn't been as full of growth as previous years.
More competition and a lack of updates is making it harder for the 12-year-old game to grow. Sprinkle challenges caused by Apple's App Tracking Transparency and the results are hard to accept.
So far this year, comparing June to September, Candy Crush's revenue dropped by 30%. That's a massive decline for a game that's been generally following a positive growth trend.
You might be thinking, "but Candy Crush is super old. Everyone has it already!", right? Well, that line of questioning is relevant when we look at demand which we can measure with downloads.
If everyone had Candy Crush no one would need to download it from the App Store or Google Play so those would go to 0 - but in September the game saw 9M new downloads...
For now, I think it's safe to say Royal Match is the king of match-3 games. But... Microsoft recently finished its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, bringing Candy Crush to Microsoft. And Microsoft already mentioned it's committed to growing the brand.
Candy Crush is a giant that won't go down quietly so it's not a question of if Candy Crush will return to its throw but rather when.
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All figures included in this report are estimated. Unless specified otherwise, estimated revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.