Why you should think twice before investing in King

IPO WATCH: Google Trends suggests fads like Candy Crush pass quickly - so unless King can pull another hit out of its hat, it may be best avoided.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 19 Feb 2014

After much speculation over the past few months King, the stealer of time/destroyer of attention spans/award-winning game developer (depending on whether or not you've played Candy Crush) has finally filed for an IPO.

The developer's growth has been fast, even by tech company standards - and for many investors, that's the worry. On Sunday, the Telegraph suggested it was putting its plans to IPO on hold because it was worried about 'doing a Zynga': the Farmville creator went public in 2012 at just over $13 per share and peaked at almost $14.70 a couple of weeks later. Since then it's been hovering around the $4-$6 mark, although anticipates a better year in 2014.

Zynga's problem was that it didn't produce a convincing enough follow-up to Farmville - and although King has other creations, including Farm Heroes and Pet Rescue, none have been quite as popular as Candy Crush.

What's more, interest in games like Candy Crush tends to wane pretty fast once users have had enough of them (in MT's case, that means getting so frustrated at level 153 that you lob your phone across the room and realise it's time to go cold turkey). Just check out this chart, created by anayst Benedict Evans back in September, which shows how fast people move on to the next big thing:

So a note of caution to investors: we're sure King will pull another rabbit out of its hat - but beware the one-hit wonder...

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