PopCap’s John Vechey has some very basic advice for King Digital Entertainment: Make great games.
The Candy Crush Saga-maker finally priced its public offering this evening at $22.50 a share to come in at the low-end of the company’s expected range of $21 to $24 a share. The 10-year-old company raised a total of $500 million, valuing it at $7 billion.
King will begin trading tomorrow morning on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol KING.
In advance of the company’s IPO, we asked Vechey if he had any advice he’d like to share with the casual games leader, given that PopCap had sold to EA instead of going public, a decision that Vechey said he doesn’t regret in a more extensive interview posted on GeekWire this morning.
The companies share some similarities. Both have developed wildly successful casual games in which the goal is clearing items from the screen — in the case of King’s Candy Crush, it’s little packets of candy, and in the case of PopCap’s Bejeweled, it’s gems. King is nearly dependent on Candy Crush, with 78 percent of sales coming from the mobile and social game, and likewise, PopCap’s first hit was Bejeweled, although it doesn’t break down its revenues by game.
Still, Vechey knows the enormous amount of pressure that can be to be part of a public company.
“We were partners with them [King] for years when they were doing skill-based games,” he said. “They’ve approached the business in a cool way, and had tremendous success. My only advice would be to make great games.”
Sounds simple, but it’s harder than it looks.
“The big thing is, I wish them luck. The industry is small compared to where it’s going to be in 50 years…It’s bad when game companies fail. I hope they do well.”