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Why King Did Not Make The Most Innovative Companies List

[Illustration by Richard Perez]

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, 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.

Conclusion: Nay.
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.

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