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Design Innovations from Social Casino: Candy Crush Arcade

January 4 Sandra Wong

There is a generalized conception that there is very little design innovation in social casino and I can understand why. Here are some of my thoughts around this as a social casino game designer for the past 5 years.

User behaviour (Behaviourist game design)
Most, if not all, social casino games follow this game design philosophy. All games are viewed in terms of generated numbers – predictable outcomes and measured rewards, guided user experiences and some degree of manipulation based on data for optimized pivots and light future iterations.

Innovation does exist in the space, and is not non-existent, it’s just slow. You can see lots of innovation the the social casino space and many real money gaming operators taking features from most popular free to play gaming genres.

Successful game dynamics usually come from creative deprivation tanks where method can’t quite access (outside if box thinking), and real money gaming is slow to trust and invest in that sort of thinking and why we see gambling companies sticking to what they know works. With this mentality, they risk capturing new audiences and market share until it is critically needed (ie. When bottom line is effected).

One of the biggest reasons why there hasn’t been crazy wild creative innovation is because of government regulatory environments making it either too expensive and/or breaking the law.

When innovation does happen, it’s usually in an indie/start-up level and many of those never make it to the masses or have yet to make it to the masses before they run out of money or get snatched up by one of the gaming giants.

Many times you see Real Money gaming operators steal mechanics from free2play but what about the other way around?
One really cool innovation I saw recently was the Candy Crush Saga Arcade by King. The team at King really understand social behaviour and I believe have successfully translated it over from the social landscape to real life well.

The Candy Crush Saga Arcade Game


The cool and innovation social features of the Candy Crush Saga Arcade Game

  • Game takes tokens to play and you cannot cash out. Traditional arcade with a spin.
  • How does the Candy Crush Saga Arcade Game work?  What they did was create a social progressive machine where you put tokens in and you are rewarded with prize tickets that you will later redeem for a prize. While this concept is not new, the cool thing about it is that the prize amount is fixed and you carry off the previous players progression. Anyone that reaches level 30 for example will get release the super bonus before the machine resets to start over.
  • This social design is beneficial for all players involved, because the cost of play for the early players is that they get more play because the earlier levels are easier to advance. For the later players, they get the motivation of being closer to the bonus reward, although the levels are much harder to advance and are more challenging.
  • With this type of innovation, it is perhaps how land-based casinos should be looking at engaging with the new millennials market where creating social interactions and customized experiences are top-focuses.

For more on casino game design and topics, follow me on Twitter@astrogurl.


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