Candy Crush Saga maker King reports strong Q1 with $569M in adjusted revenue and 61 cents-a-share profit

Venture Beat DEAN TAKAHASHI MAY 14, 2015

King isn’t a one-hit wonder anymore, dependent only on revenues from Candy Crush Saga.

Above: Candy Crush Saga is still
Image Credit: King

The mobile social game company announced first-quarter earnings today that beat Wall Street’s expectations thanks to help from its Candy Crush Soda Saga and Farm Heroes Saga mobile games. King reported adjusted net income of 61 cents a share on non-GAAP adjusted revenue of $569.8 million in the first quarter that ended March 31. That compared to $607.6 million adjusted revenue and adjusted earnings per share of 61 cents a year ago. Analysts expected adjusted net income of 53 cents a share on revenue of $563 million. King’s games saw a new quarterly high of 1.6 billion average daily game plays in the first quarter.

Overall monthly active users were 550 million in the first quarter, up 3 percent from the previous quarter and up 69 million, or 14 percent, from a year ago. Daily active users were up 10 percent from a year ago at 158 million. King’s stock price fell 9 percent to $13.60 a share in after-hours trading, largely because of a weaker-than-expected outlook for the second quarter.

King said that its monthly unique payers in the first quarter were 8.52 million, up 2 percent, or 179,000 from the previous quarter and down 28 percent, or 3.34 million players, from a year earlier.

“Our first quarter 2015 results demonstrate the continued strength of our franchises, with Candy Crush Saga, Candy Crush Soda Saga and Farm Heroes Saga remaining top 10 grossing games in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store in the U.S.,” said King CEO Riccardo Zacconi in a statement. “We are pleased by the sustained popularity of our games, which is also reflected in our second consecutive quarter of company-high network reach metrics and we look forward to leveraging the extraordinary power of our massive player base in launching new innovative games in 2015 and beyond.”

King said that non-Candy Crush Saga revenue was $375 million, or 62 percent of total gross bookings of $604.5 million. Three King games were in the top 10-grossing games list on both Android and Apple. It also launched localized versions of Candy Crush Soda Saga in Japan, South Korea, and China during the quarter. King also launched its first word game, AlphaBetty Saga, in nine languages during April.

King also said today that it plans to bring Candy Crush Saga to Windows 10 devices.

Before the earnings announcement, analyst Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities said he believed that the App Annie top-grossing charts indicated that Candy Crush Saga and Candy Crush Soda Saga monetization held relatively steady throughout the first quarter. King includes China in its Candy Crush Saga bookings, with Soda and its other titles included in its non-Candy Crush Saga bookings. Pachter believes that King is succeeding in offsetting the decline of Candy Crush Saga with bookings growth for Candy Crush Soda Saga.

Pachter was expecting Q2 bookings guidance of roughly $545 million to 570 million. King said that it expects gross bookings of $490 million to $520 million in the second quarter. That means King expects the mid-year revenues to be seasonally softer, with growth coming back later in the year.

King recently bought Z2Live, a maker of hardcore mobile games, giving it another avenue for expansion.

Candy Crush Soda Saga from King.
Above: Candy Crush Soda Saga from King.
Image Credit: King