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Popularity of Online Multiplayer games due to network effects.


Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 5 years, then you’ve definitely heard of Candy crush, downloaded it or even received a request to join. Candy crush’s success can be attributed partly in part to network effects. King games(owner of candy crush saga) built for itself a multibillion dollar company by exploiting monetizing technique commonly referred to as ‘freemium’. Freemium games are usually free to play but require the user to pony up money for any meaningful/quick advancement in progress. This is in contrast to the more common monetization technique of just displaying ads in the game. Candy crush also differentiates itself by integrating social networks to advance in the game. This is key.  Specifically, users are given a few lives to play the game, if the lives run out in a short time they can request a life from one of their friends. Users are also encouraged in other ways to include their friends as well as display progress for others to see and try to beat. This is in fact how I got introduced to candy crush; by someone begging me to sign up just so she could get a life from me.

My decision to play Candy crush could be seen as a direct benefit effect. The game was free to play (initially), I had nothing to lose, I could help my friend out in the process and keep myself entertained. Candy Crush had succeeded in adding another player to its potential monetization pool, which could be attributed to network effects. Activision just acquired King Games, most famous for its Candy Crush Saga franchise. this is somewhat relevant because they’re a heavy weight in the online gaming community. They own the Call of Duty franchise and world of Warcraft which like many other MMORPG (Massively multiplayer online role-playing game) and multiplayer games in general, expand as a result of  network effects. New players join mainly to play with their friends and also because it’s fun to play. Online multiplayer games that require little to massive interaction between players like Call of Duty, Candy crush and World of Warcraft are games that sustain themselves via network effects. In the very connected world we live in today, online multiplayer games are beginning to dominate and this can be partly attributed to network effects.



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November 2015