Envoys get taste of ‘Candy Crush,’ secrets behind mobile games

By Korea Herald
  • Published : May 18, 2014 - 20:28
  • Updated : May 18, 2014 - 20:28
Kuwaiti Ambassador to South Korea Jasem Al-Budaiwi (left) poses with CICI members during the group’s recent meetup at his residence in Itaewon, Seoul, Tuesday. (CICI)
Foreign envoys heard from former Nexon CEO Kwon Joon-mo, a veteran of mobile phone games, on the psychology underpinning the success of Candy Crush Saga at the recent meet up organized by the Corea Image Communication Institute Tuesday.

Expatriate corporate executives, local VIPs and foreign diplomats, including the ambassadors of Austria, Ireland, Jordan, Kuwait and Slovakia learned from the IT entrepreneur, creator of the current Kakao Talk favorite Blade, at the residence of Kuwaiti Ambassador to South Korea Jasem Al-Budaiwi in Itaewon in Seoul.

The secrets of the success of the addictive mobile phone games was news to Austrian Ambassador Elisabeth Bertagnoli, who said she has never downloaded a game on her phone and would not have time to play it even if she did. But Jordanian Ambassador Omar Nahar knew all about Candy Crush and is a fan, too: He is stuck on Level 162.

There are a few straightforward reasons for the popularity of Candy Crush ― which reportedly has over 500 million downloads and rakes in well over a million dollars a day.

One is that Candy Crush and games like it give players limited turns: when they run out of turns, they either have to wait half an hour, or pay to play again immediately, explained Kwon.

According to Kwon, another one of the secrets underpinning the success of Candy Crush is the length of a given session of gameplay. “We found that the optimum length of play is about a minute and a half, about the time it takes to travel from one subway station to the next.

CQ members are about halfway through the current session ― the group’s 17th since CICI president Choi Jung-hwa first launched the group in 2003.

“CQ” refers loosely to five Cs: culture, concentration, communication, creativity and cooperation. CICI brings together people from all walks of life to share cultural experiences, and to brainstorm innovative ways to promote Korea’s image overseas, as well as cultures from around the world here in South Korea.

By Philip Iglauer (