Is Candy Crush Cheating? Will it matter?

We heard an unsubstantiated rumor this week about how King.com maximizes revenue for Candy Crush Sage. It’s juicy enough to be a great idea for monetization but we’re not sure how we feel as gamers.

Our source – who is not a King.com employee – claimed that the Random Number Generator (RNG) that determines how candies are distributed within Candy Crush Saga is non-random and is, in fact, rigged to promote better monetization. This either leave the player “just shy” of completing a level, or makes it harder to win when you’re running low on energy.

How does this work? Our source didn’t know, but if we were designing the game, we’d think about one of two strategies:

  1. Re-use the seeds of levels that led to monetization. The seed for a RNG determines how candy will be distributed on the board. By choosing seeds that had preceded monetization in the past, you’d be likely to find levels that left the player with no energy, but only one more move to complete the level. This would juice monetization significantly.
  2. Re-use seeds of levels that are impossible to complete, draining players of energy. This is a similar strategy, but this technique ensures that players will run out of energy faster. It’s unclear whether this would be more or less effective than strategy #1, but easy enough to test.

This wouldn’t be unheard of. Many RNGs are rigged, sometimes in favor of the player. Tetris, for example, uses a semi-random process to ensure the distribution of pieces is more even than chance would allow. Many in-game coin flips are actually rigged in favor of the player, because people complained too loudly about the “bugs” that must exist because the coin would never land on heads 10 time in a row. Slots are similarly programmed to dish out small wins at a frequency that encourages long-time play.

Freemium games are a new animal, with lots of experimentation happening. While we’re not lawyers, this appears a totally legal approach to game design. So if it’s true that this is part of the Candy Crush monetization magic, we expect we’ll see the tactic spread.  The real question will be whether gamers revolt.

3 comments on “Is Candy Crush Cheating? Will it matter?

  1. I would be extremely surprised if it was a random random generator… *of course* its rigged. King is not a registered charity….

  2. Gabriel says:

    They do give you an incredible number of öh only one jelly left”, etc.
    On the other hand you can finish without buying anything. It is for me to understand how people are so stupid,l that
    they want to buy this tools to get ahead. As far as I am concerned, to win and not to win gives you abot the same gameplay.
    Wheather I went ahead or not, I played the same game matched candies and blew them up.
    Now if you think this is a worthy game to be better than your friends, I feel sorry for you. You could flip coins and say whoever gets more heads (or tails) is the winner. There are tons of games that put you against an opponent and it depends on your cunning, knowledge, or patience… without involving stupid rigged luck-games. So, there.

  3. Debra says:

    I’ve noticed that sometimes targets would change if I’ve been stuck for a long time. What I’ve noticed more recently in Jelly, is “rules” don’t always apply. For example, on Puffler levels, the “rule” seemed to be that fish go to the jelly with a puffler behind it. Now, they go anywhere there’s jelly. Also, if the computer knows the outcome of the current move, why do fish released in that move to to a non jelly spot? As far as Soda because I had 1 move left but it mysteriously froze when I made my last winning move. I had been stuck for a week. I was so frustrated I deleted it. Lol end vent.

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