Sweet and Sour: The Candy Crush Dilemma


Candy Crush is a thriving game, playable both on Facebook browser and via mobile phone. The gameplay itself works out well, minus the life system; however, one thing about Candy Crush angers me.

You have to either pay to continue playing after a certain number of levels, or harass your Facebook friends for invites.

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There is no other way to continue on after level 35 (and 25 more times after that), not even a wait period of a week or so. **Unless you are on a mobile phone and do not connect your account with your Facebook account, as I will explain further down.

One does not expect to have to pay-to-play a game on Facebook. Currently, most of the games on Facebook DO have an in-game pay system that allows you to buy extra content and DLC, but they are free to play to the heart’s content. Candy Crush, on the other hand, will not allow you to play unless you pay $0.99 or send those pesky invites to 3 Facebook friends. After level 35, you will have to pay $0.99 (25 times) or send those 3 invites 25 more times.

The makers of Candy Crush do not include in the description that you have to pay to continue playing, only that you will pay for lives and moves, as seen below:

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**There is one other way to move on, but that is for people who have not connected their Facebook accounts to their mobile phones; browser users are screwed, regardless. The majority of players connect their Facebook accounts with Candy Crush because its simple and easy. Candy Crush does not inform the player of the ‘loophole’ effect of not connecting one’s Facebook account. If you are not connected to Facebook, you have the ability to replay old levels and complete them within a set of “mission” rules to unlock new levels. However, you can only complete 1 mission every 24 hours.

So, once you pay, do you get to play as often as you want? The answer to that is a big NO. Candy Crush still restricts your gaming to five lives, and regenerating a life takes 30 minutes PER LIFE; thus, it requires essentially two and a half hours to regain five measly lives. Alternatively, you can buy more life, of course, because the makers of Candy Crush are clearly after one thing: Money. More lives immediately will cost the player money as well: $0.99 per set of 5 lives.

People are spending well over $30 a month on this game, not realizing that $0.99 here and there adds up eventually. This game is not worth $30; it’s not even worth $10. Would I pay for Candy Crush as it is right now? No, hell no.

But would I pay if they had a flat all-in fee under $10, let you play whenever you wanted, and opened up access to all levels? Yes, I definitely would. Candy Crush is a fun game by itself and that is what’s keeping people from seeing that they are spending way too much on a game that is only worth a couple of dollars.

It concerns me that people are willing to allow this to happen. I really hope this trend does not continue on. Candy Crush being so wildly popular will give other developers the idea that it’s ok to charge inordinate amounts of money for games, when those games are not worth the high cost people eventually rack up with purchases. It’s too easy to hide these things behind awesome gameplay, graphics, and music, while in the background they are accruing ‘small’ charges here and there.

Is this the future of social and mobile gaming? Paying $30-plus for a game that used to be free, or cheap, to play on a browser/mobile?

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About Penny Whitehead

Penny Whitehead is a Graphic Designer and Illustrator who works on print, web, and mobile design. An avid gamer, Penny grew up playing the n64, SNES, Gameboy and Playstation Consoles. She grew into MMO's with the free game Monster and Me. Pennys future plans are to write a fantasy trilogy, design a full mobile video game, and become successfully happy.