When the first Star Wars was released in 1977 it was met with anticipation. Nobody thought it would turn into the cultural phenomenon it is today, however the thirst for an other-worldly experience was alive and well. It became an instant classic, creating a sub culture of Star Wars freaks and fanatics who have spent collective billions on toys, comics, and theatrical releases they won’t even take out of the box. How, in any far far away galaxy, could anything be better than Star Wars?
When the Candy Crush Saga was released in 2012, nobody was particularly excited, it was just another game in the app store. Nobody expected that this free-to-download-and-play match-3 game would take the world by storm and generate more than $500 million in in-app purchases in only three months. It’s captivated everyone from grandmothers to toddlers, with its clink-crushing sound effects being heard the world over. To date, it’s generated billions of dollars in in-app purchases and was recently bought for $5.9 billion by Activison Blizzard. In this galaxy, here and now, Candy Crush is $1.9 billion better than Star Wars.
Disney bought Lucasfilm and the rights to Star Wars for a paltry $4 billion back in 2012. Who could have ever predicted that a simple app game could ever, in a million lightyears, surpass the purchase price for something that changed cinema forever and cemented generational relationships like the Star Wars Trilogy? Well it did, and Disney will go down in history as brokering the greatest deal this star system has ever seen.
The reasons for purchasing both Candy Crush and Star Wars are similar. It’s a matter of taking something that is wildly successful on its own and merging it with your other wildly successful entertainment offerings. Disney is, well Disney, and Activision is the publisher of games like Call of Duty and World of War Craft. It’s the leader in interactive gaming.
For Activision the acquisition of King Industries, the makers of Candy Crush, ushers in a new platform to reach gamers on. It was a way for them to break into the mobile gaming industry and get in on the billions of dollars that come from in-app purchases. It can also open them up to new technologies that may enable them to translate the success of their console and PC games to a mobile setting, thus extending their availability to all consumers. A smart and expensive move that they will undoubtedly make back.
For Disney, there is a little more risk involved, but it was a sound investment. And, at the steal of a deal at $4 billion, one a smart company would never ever pass up. Between adding a Star Wars additions to their world renowned theme parks and creating new merchandise they could make back billions and billions of dollars. At the rate ticket sales are headed, the movie alone may pay for the acquisition. A lofty thought, but you never know. Everyone in our office is going to see it more than once we can tell you that.
From a marketing standpoint both of these deals were great moves on the parent company’s part. They allow them to harness the branding and following these two juggernauts already have. They also push each company to continue the success of the original product to live up to their billion-dollar price tags.
In our opinion Candy Crush will never be as good as Star Wars, but when it comes to making billion dollar acquisitions of already billion dollar companies, we will say that both Disney and Activision made wise decisions. Disney got a great deal on Lucasfilm, and we’ll certainly be crushing candy while we wait in line for the new X-Wing Experience ride at Disney World. So, now that we’ve thought out our shock that Star Wars sold for less than Candy Crush, we’re going to head out to the theater and get our Force Awakens on.