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Crushing competition, Candy Crush creator crowns itself King

In the wake of its No. 1 game's popularity, King.com revamps its brand and launches two more games and continues to fill the pipeline.

A Candy Crush spokesman hangs out at the Games Developers Conference in San Francisco

King.com, the company behind Facebook's No. 1 game Candy Crush, is rebranding and changing its name to simply "King."

It's fitting, considering that the 10-year-old company, relatively unknown just two years ago, is a top game for Facebook.com and in mobile, thanks to its 5-month-old candy-themed puzzle game.

"It's not a .com company, it's a multi-platform company," according to King CEO Riccardo Zacconi. King announced today that its games are played 12 billion times a month. King's games have more than 108 million monthly players on all platforms, desktop and mobile, with 49 million of those players on the mobile version of the game. There are 50 million daily players on all platforms, but King didn't say how many of those daily players are on mobile.

While King didn't break out how much of those players are playing Candy Crush, AppData has the game at 45.6 million monthly players and 14.4 million daily players. Like Zynga's Farmville, Candy Crush has been King's golden ticket.

The game had a strong presence at the Game Developer Conference in San Francisco this week. And, it wasn't just the candy-striped conference badge straps or the people dressed in giant candy costumes handing out freebies. The company's talk yesterday on why Candy Crush was such a success it drew such a large crowd that they closed off the room, leaving a long line of folks waiting outside.

The key, Zacconi said, is delivering tried and true games and making a seamless experience for players transitioning from Facebook's site to mobile. He talked about the success of this cross-platform strategy, which lets users play the game uninterrupted on both platforms, at Facebook's GDC developer day session. King has a portfolio of 50 games. These games are first launched on King.com first, and then the company takes the most popular games and release them on Facebook and other platforms like iOS and Android.

King.com held a ritzy launch party for two new games at a hot new San Francisco restaurant tonight. A few other games are in the pipeline, but Zacconi won't say how many.

The new games -- Papa Pear Saga, an aim and shoot game, and Farm Heros Saga, a matching puzzle game -- are similar in design to Candy Crush.

Facebook has made Candy Crush its new poster child for making money off games on its platform, but is this just a honeymoon phase? Not too long ago, Facebook promoted Zynga's Farmville as why game developers should put games on Facebook's platform. Now the ties are nearly severed and Farmville is the No. 2 game, with 40.4 million monthly players, just under Candy Crush. During a Farmville presentation today at GDC, there was a constant trickle of people filtering out of the partially-filled room.

Zacconi said King doesn't get any special treatment from Facebook, so there's no fear of losing special privileges. While Facebook has been a good platform for King, he said Candy Crush's popularity on iOS and Android shows that the company can do well on other platforms as well.

He thinks King has the commitment and resources to uphold Candy Crush's popularity for the long haul. That means new levels and challenges for the games.

"Having a franchise, you continuously have to invest in the franchise," he said.