What does it mean to be an innovator? Our editors debated many companies—and throughout this list, we're running some of their discussions. This is how we decided on King.
YEA: Analysts estimate that King's Candy Crush Saga makes almost $1 million a day. A day!
NAY: Zynga is a $1 billion company.
YEA: King has clearly figured out the secret to addictive gaming.
NAY: We've seen so many one-idea wonders in the social-mobile-gaming era. Where's its next hit?
YEA: Pet Rescue Saga! Farm Heroes Saga!
NAY: You mean Candy Crush with puppies and vegetables? It's like Rovio cranking out more dull Angry Birds spin-offs.
YEA: Give King time. Its strategy—launching games on King.com, promoting popular ones to Facebook, and then making apps for the big winners—is smart.
NAY: But in its 10-plus years, that strategy yielded one megahit. Should I check back in 2024?
YEA: King has 150 games in 14 languages. Its games are among the most popular and top grossing. That's a lot of happy players.
NAY: Of course they're happy: King doesn't show them ads, and very few shell out for in-app purchases!
YEA: King's IPO will give it fresh capital for game development.
NAY: King has been profitable since 2005, so it's arguably had the funds to produce a second winner.
YEA: The company has grown steadily and smartly.
NAY: As a public company, the market's going to demand growth. Ad-riddled games seem inevitable.
To prove it can avoid the fates of its predecessors, King needs evidence that its pipeline is more evolved. Where's that next hit?
Check out the complete list and see who made the Most Innovative Companies of 2014.
[Illustration by Richard Perez]