7S: Sweet, sweet, Candy Crushed

Sweet!Have you crushed some candy today? Well.. if you have,, welcome to the glorious world of 66 million fellow crushers, making it the most popular game ever to be installed on our phones, iPads – or played on Facebook. Apparently some people even become addicted…

So how does a massively successful game like Candy Crush fit within the 7S framework? Here is a short breakdown:

Simplify Tunnelling/easy rules Step by step instructions on candies
Sign-post Linking to further information located elsewhere Walk through websites (externally provided)
Self -relevant Customising the user experience Platform used (?)
Self-supervise Track progress towards a specific goal Levels & comparisons with friends/ invites from friends
Support Offering of support and celebrating user achievements Sweet messages
Suggest Timely suggestions for further improvements “Looks like you are stuck” messages
Socialise Sharing of success through social networks Total integration with facebook

As you’d expect, it does pretty well… I’d say 6.1 out of 7. Here’s why:

Signposting: Candy Crush is an easy game (match three candies), but gets more complicated as the game progresses. The rules are clearly laid out as the player progresses through the levels, so each individual rule is easy to follow.

Sign-post: There is plenty of other information available on how to complete levels when you search the web. This isn’t signposted in the game itself tough, which is not 100% “7S comliant”, but easy to find (and advertised) – 0.1 for that 😉

Self-relevant: Candy Crush  itself only lets you customise very basic options, it could probably do more here. However, the icon used to represent “you” (and your friends) is the player’s facebook profile picture – so the experience integrates the player virtually into the game.

Self-supervise: The game is totally self-supervised – and gives the players plenty of options to check how well s/he is doing. The players can see the level they have reached, the “stars” and compare how their friends did (and where they are).

Support: The game offers a constant stream of supportive messages: if several candies are crushed it says “sweet” both in the form of a badge and spoken. When a level is completed, this is celebrated by “Happy Days!” announcements.

Suggest: Candy Crush offers you support messages when the player “looks stuck” (after a few attempts), telling the player to use a booster (or even purchase one). Friends can send additional moves … And just while I’m writing this, I got an email reminding me to go and crush (guess I haven’t crushed enough today!)

Socialise: Candy Crush is, above all, a social media based game. Not surprisingly the socialising is probably perfect: From asking friends for support, to telling friends that their score has been crushed… to giving extra lives… The player may be playing alone – but every move is  socialised.

Overall, nearly a perfect set of scores for this game, especially if you compare the game to many other games for mobile devices that are not half as popular. The main difference to the competitors is probably the  unique way in which Candy Crush is socialising the rather boring game experience. But it also uses pretty much all of the other elements that make social media apps so persuasive – so maybe it’s not that surprising that in a highly mobile society like, for example Hong Kong, Candy Crush is spreading like wild fire with every 7th person playing it.

Are you playing social games? Which ones do you play? Why do you play them? Do you also play other games? Are you hooked? Tell me what you think!

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