If the gaming industry ever wondered why people are so sceptical when they proclaim their game to be ‘free-to-play’, simply point them toward this neat little fact: the two men who founded King (the company behind Candy Crush Saga) are richer than the Sam and Dan Houser, the brothers at the head of Rockstar (creators of such gaming franchises as Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead and Max Payne).
King co-founders Riccardo Zacconi and Sebastian Knutsson are worth £354m and £200m respectively – not bad for the creators of a ‘free’ game. Now consider the fact that the Housers have a combined total of £90m, you get a better idea of just how insanely valuable the mobile games market is. Stephane Kurgen is King’s Chief Operating Officer, and even he is worth almost as much as the Housers, with a net total of £85m to his name.
These figures come from the recently released Sunday Times Rich List, compiling the richest figures in Britain throughout a variety of industries. Number one in the gaming industry was a Mr Mel Morris, valued at £430m – and it’s surely no coincidence that he happens to have a 12% stake in King himself. His fortune is enough to make him the 238th richest person in Britain outright.
Of course there are other factors to consider when valuing businessmen like the Housers, Zacconi and Knutsson, but the figures don’t lie – mobile gaming is so huge that it can shoot two men to more than five times the combined value of two of console gaming’s most iconic figures.