October 21, 2013
Candy Crush Particularly Addictive – And Expensive – For Women
[ Watch the Video: Candy Crush Or Crack Candy? ]
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
The creators say the majority of people playing the game at any given time are women between the ages of 22 and 55. The app is also being hailed as an example of the thriving In-App Purchase model of app development. Though the game is offered for free in app stores, users can only access the first 35 levels of the 400-level game. To play level 36 and above, users must pay a dollar to access the next 20 levels. Those players looking to stay away from paying to play the game they’ve become addicted to can ask their Facebook friends to give them extra lives.
Women speaking with the Daily Mail in the UK and ABC News in the US say they became addicted to playing Candy Crush Saga when they first picked it up. The object of the game is to line up colorful pieces of candy to crush them or make them disappear. Being unable to line up these pieces causes a player to lose a life, but these too can be purchased through the app store.
“Candy Crush is one of those gender-neutral games that has a 'moreish' quality that can fit in flexibly around a woman’s life,” explains Professor Mark Griffiths in an interview with the Daily Mail. Griffiths is the director of the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University.
“Unlike so many online games, it doesn't involve killing, fighting or strong male characters or highly-sexualized female characters. What's more, it's deceptively simple and fun.”
All told, some 43 million people play about 700 million games of Candy Crush Saga every day, according to AppData. One woman who spoke with the Daily Mail says while she plays a few weekday games during lunch and after work, she can spend nearly all weekend playing the game.
“Once I’ve got up and read the papers, I'll start playing and that’s me sorted for the next three to four hours. In fact, I only usually stop when my iPad runs out of battery.”
Professor Griffiths says the free aspect of the game and the satisfying feeling one gets when the candy is effectively “crushed” could lead many gamers to have a similar addiction to that experienced by gambling addicts at slot machines.
“On first look, games like Candy Crush may not seem to have much connection to gambling, but the psychology is very similar,” said Griffiths. “Even when games do not involve money, they introduce players to the principles and excitement of gambling. Small unpredictable rewards lead to highly engaged, repetitive behavior.”
Another woman said she’s spent over $240 in the last four months playing the game, adding: “It’s worth it.”
Dr. Jeffrey Gardere, assistant clinical professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York agrees with professor Griffiths, saying the game is also developed to cater to women specifically.
“We’re listening to music, which is very soothing, as we’re playing it [and] we hear a male voice that’s giving us all this positive reinforcement.”