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9 million people play Candy Crush for 3+ hours a day, but there are no but there's no 'addiction problem'

Alan Dale, a senior executive at King, put on a masterclass in disingenuousness while talking to a British Parliament Commons select committee looking into addictive technology.

[Dale] told MPs he did not believe that there was an addiction problem among Candy Crush Saga players.

That’s the kicker.

Dale told the committee that of the 270 million players, 3.4% (9.2 million) play for three or more hours a day, while 0.16% (432,000) play for six or more.

He went on to say that the average player plays Candy Crush for 38 minutes.

“It is a very, very small number who spend or play at high levels. When we speak with them they say they are happy with what they are doing.”

It’s a misnomer to suggest – or even imply – that people with addictions are unhappy. You can be happy and be addicted to something.

That doesn’t mean the addiction isn’t a problem. You’re just not at the stage where you’re aware it’s a problem yet.

None of that is to say that someone playing Candy Crush for hours on end is addicted to the game. Addiction is complex and difficult to diagnose.

But confidently saying your game doesn’t have an addiction problem while relying on people self-reporting that they’re happy is disingenuous to the point of parody.

Dale said an email used to be sent out to players who spent $250 in a week for the first time but that gamers would respond that they would not play if they could not afford it and felt the communications intrusive…

“We will look at the whole area again but we have done it before and they didn’t like it,” he said.

Good job.

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