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Candy Crush Crushed Me with Their Pay or Connect to Facebook Policy after Level 35

Today is my last day playing Candy Crush*. Which is sad because mentally checking out to exploding candy was something I looked forward to at the end of the day. That is, until I ran out of lives and had to impatiently wait 30 minutes for new ones to regenerate. But still, the song, the popping jelly, the cascading candy: it was like bubble wrap, satisfying some strange part of my brain. And then I passed level 35, and Candy Crush told me I either needed to pay up or connect to Facebook. Which is totally fair on their end — I’m not owed a free game even if they bill themselves as such by putting things on their FAQ pointing out how you don’t need to connect to Facebook or pay.  Technically, though, you either have to connect to Facebook or pay… just not both.  See, they were being truthful all along if you read their hidden message between the claims.


screenshot of candy crush

In fact, if you write King.com to ask about statements in their FAQ such as “You can play the full game without ever connecting to Facebook,” they send you a nice automated message that reads:

The mobile version of Candy Crush Saga features 305 levels. Every 15 levels (starting with level 35), you have to unlock a new episode to continue playing. This can be done by either asking 3 friends for help when connecting with Facebook or by paying for the ticket.

So goodbye Candy Crush.  It was really nice knowing you.

But wait, you say, how could I walk away from a game that brings me such joy?  Why wouldn’t I just connect it to Facebook like everyone else and keep playing?

When you give any app access to your Facebook account, developers can collect information on you. On one hand, who cares? And on the other… well, I do care, and I can explain why in a moment.  Facebook states:

When you install an app, you give it permission to access your public profile, which includes your name, profile pictures, username, user ID (account number), networks and any info you choose to make publicly available. You also give the app other info to personalize your experience, including your friends list, gender, age range and locale.

That’s a lot of information I’m handing over to a stranger.  I’m well aware that King.com doesn’t want it for nefarious purposes.  I’m not scared that I’ll wake up and that strange Candy Crush man will be standing over my bed to smash me with an enormous pink lollipop.  But I am annoyed by the fact that without being upfront in the first place, King.com is now asking me to trust them with information they want to use to market to me.  The fact is, they lost my trust when they weren’t transparent, and beyond that, I’m tired of being bombarded with marketing messages.  I feel like the world has become one huge advertisement.

They may not be asking me for money (well, yes, they are), but there is most definitely a price to pay for playing Candy Crush.  And that price is my personal information, as well as using my account to advertise the game to my friends.

I know I sound like a crotchety old woman (mostly because I am a crotchety old woman), but look at how we contradict ourselves in our daily life.  We DVR programs so we can cleverly speed through the commercials, and then we hand over access to our Facebook account information with all of our likes and locations so we can have developers market to us in order to play a game.  Would I ever walk into a room full of advertising executives and dole out my name, picture, and list of my friends to them, sweetly asking them to bombard me with more marketing messages? Of course not. But for the price of a game, that’s exactly what I’m doing.

I feel like I’m fighting this constant battle with misappropriated marketing that comes out of snatching keywords or random facts such as my age, and then applying it to trends so I end up with what other people might like but I almost never do.  This is different from a store or site trying to sell me something I’ve clearly expressed interest in.  For instance, I don’t mind when Amazon sends me a note to let me know about a new book that is similar to one I already read — that type of marketing is creepy but ultimately helpful, and very similar to what Sean at my brick-and-mortar bookstore does when I walk inside and he tells me about a new release he thinks I may enjoy.

But the vast majority of marketing that reaches me is based on guesswork.  80% of women over the age of 35 enjoy potato chips**, so we will shunt ads towards Melissa for Pringles.  Nevermind that I don’t like potato chips.  It doesn’t matter if they waste a few ads on people like me when they hit so many correctly simply due to trends in demographics.

See, but I do mind because what happens is that because I discuss infertility and by default babies, I get bombarded with ads for pregnancy apps and baby items BECAUSE MARKETERS DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH INFERTILITY. My G-d, I have to shriek that because I get no fewer than 100 emails per day asking me to hawk various pregnancy-related items; that’s the category marketers have placed me in.  The “R” in public relations is being dropped on the Internet in order to cast a larger net.  Who cares, the public relations person thinks, if I hit a few wrong people in the process since I may also hit a few extra “right” people, all in a small amount of time.  As the person on the other end of that equation, who has to deal with an inbox of pregnancy-related emails while she can’t get pregnant, it’s incredibly hurtful.

Calming myself down.

So why not just shell out the money?  I would, if I knew what I was paying for.  For instance, I buy a lot of games from ThinkFun such as Chocolate Fix (uh, that is the ULTIMATE candy crush) or RushHour.  I pay a set amount, I know exactly what I’m getting, and nothing more is asked of me after the initial purchase.  With Candy Crush, I am being asked to pay and not being told how much I’ll receive for those 99 cents.  Another two hours of play?  One level?  Who the hell knows.  And that’s a system I can’t buy into.  If you want my money, be upfront and transparent.  Then I’ll gladly pay for game apps.

I am really tired of the bait and switch.  Be transparent and you’ll have my heart — and money — forever.  Be sneaky and you incur my wrath.

* Oh my G-d, who am I kidding?  I’m going to go put enormously wrong information in my Facebook profile and then connect it to Facebook so I can keep smashing candies but they will believe this game is being played by an 80-something male living in Kansas who loves Walmart, Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing, and Sketchers.

** That may or may not be correct.


1 Bionic { 06.05.13 at 8:05 am }

You get about ten more levels, and then they ask again. I know this because I paid a few times, and then gave up and whored myself via Facebook. It hasn’t resulted in much tangible change in my FB — well, maybe I get a few more ads for games now, but as they displace the endless vomit of “be a beautiful (read: skinny) mommy, lardass!” that is apparently all FB can make of my “has a young child” information, I am more or less glad to see them. I turned off the part that let it tell them world I had wasted another portion of my life beating some level or other.

There has been an unexpected welcome benefit to hooking it to FB, actually, which is now I can give my friends who play lives and so on (and receive them). I don’t know exactly why, but it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to do that.

Your principle here are sound, of course, and I agree with you, despite my personal weakness. I offer this information in case you should decide to fall with me 😉

2 Lacie { 06.05.13 at 8:07 am }

Hahahahaha!!! Glad I read the post through! LOVE the last paragraph!

3 jodifur { 06.05.13 at 8:10 am }

I hide the updates on my FB wall ti make it a little less annoying for my friends.

4 a { 06.05.13 at 8:24 am }

What? How can you not like potato chips? I would say that we can’t be friends…but that just means more for me, so I think that’s probably more important.

5 a { 06.05.13 at 8:36 am }

Re: Facebook games…it makes me uncomfortable to give things access to my profile, and then I remember that I don’t make all that much public anyway. You want to know where I worked or went to school? You got it. You could probably glean my age from that. You can see who some of my family members are. You can peruse my photos if you’re a friend, but not too many are tagged. You can market to me all day long, and the only attention I will give the ads is to block them, if I’m feeling particularly irritable. I guess my feeling is that you can’t really know all that much about me based on the things I click on Facebook. But, good luck trying!

The other thing to consider is that you are free to go back and play those 35 levels over and over again. Will the subsequent 270 levels really increase your enjoyment of the game? Some of them, yes. The rest will be so annoying that you’ll wonder why you started playing in the first place.

6 Egg Timer { 06.05.13 at 8:53 am }

I tried to warn you!! I know so many candy crush addicts out there trying to get their friends hooked so they can get another level. But stay strong! Don’t succumb to their pyramid gaming scheme.
Actually what is really terrifying me is the new X-box machine that will do creepy things like monitor how many people are in a room and may require you to pay for additional licenses if too many people are enjoying content, and will never ever let you actually own a game again… it will only let you access the games online, so that you can’t sell the game when you are done playing it. The world of DRM is getting scary and manipulative. I am with you. I am a crotchety old woman who won’t connect to apps.. “they” know too much

7 Sadie { 06.05.13 at 9:28 am }

But you can keep playing with out giving your privacy away. I am on level 65 and have never approved facebook usage or paid anybody a dime. At the bottom of the “ticket level” there is a icon. Click it, play the three bonus games (24 hour wait between each one) and they give you a free ticket.

8 Karen { 06.05.13 at 9:28 am }

I love this post.

I do the whole ostrich thing with information and the internet. I know, I KNOW, I should be smarter about it all. I set my picture preferences on Facebook to friends only, but that’s about it. Because it scares me a LOT to think about the information people are collecting about my online persona. The fact that I’m at Level 147 on candy crush or play Words with Friends “at the same pace!” as someone else is only one facet of the whole thing. I hate that google collects information on what I VIEW on the internet to bombard me with ads that are “targeted.” Big Brother has data, and it creeps me out because I know there are Evil People that would use that data/information if they could get at it.

Anyway. You’re not the only crochety old lady out there.


9 k { 06.05.13 at 11:48 am }

feel free to friend me with your 80 year old kansas profile. I’ll send you candy crush lives and tickets to open new levels to your heart’s content. LOL I’m addicted too.

10 missohkay { 06.05.13 at 1:57 pm }

Huh. I was able to get through and am on level 45 without paying or connecting to Facebook, by doing the 3 painful 24-hour wait periods. For as active as I am online, I try to be very particular about my information too. I surely don’t want companies I don’t trust (ahem, FB) sharing my info with companies I trust even less. It’s hard to remain vigilant when you don’t always know who has your info, what they’re using it for, and what they’re doing with it (and if they abide by the parameters you attempt to set).

11 NotWhen { 06.05.13 at 2:52 pm }

1. Darn, now I really want some potato chips… Potato chips dipped in Hidden Valley Ranch…

2. My reward for posting so openly about IF on Facebook has been incessant pregnancy advertising. Oh, and the public email for my RESOLVE support group is a landmine of pregnancy ads. I feel your pain.

3. Great post!

12 Lori Lavender Luz { 06.05.13 at 3:05 pm }

I’m glad you periodically preach about TOS. I need propping up on this at times.

I use something on FB that keeps ads from showing up.

But I can’t recall if I read the TOS of SocialFixer before I installed it.

So keep preaching, Candy Crusher.

13 Another Dreamer { 06.05.13 at 4:26 pm }

I can definitely understand that worry/frustration. I actually hide all games from my newsfeed. When a new one pops up, I quickly hide it too.

I have AdBlock on my Firefox browser and I can’t see ads on FB, Gmail, or even Youtube. It’s glorious. I was getting bombardered with pregnancy/baby ads in the sidebar, and after my miscarriages I lost it on them. My husband installed the AdBlocker and I’ve never looked back. I kind of forget that ads are out there, I don’t even get ads on my TV because we ditched cable. It’s refreshing actually.

14 loribeth { 06.06.13 at 10:43 am }

This is one of the prime reasons I don’t play games on FB. Also because they’re also timesuckers that I just don’t need.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a game of Spider Solitaire I need to get back to. 😉

15 Christine Somers { 06.06.13 at 12:00 pm }

You have hit at the heart of an issue that is making every popular culture unattractive. Marketing…movies are selling out to product placement and the Internet in general is all about marketing. Candy Crush is just a perfect example of how it is operating. Thanks for the discussion.

16 Jonelle { 06.06.13 at 12:04 pm }

Yeah, I stopped playing the game in FB when I hit level 35. I’m not paying, are you kidding me? I did download the app on my phone, and refused to connect to FB. However, to advance past level 35, you can play quests (past levels) to proceed to the next set of levels. No money, no connecting to FB, no info being shared or revealed. Just a thought, though I understand where you are coming from with this post.

17 Battynurse { 06.06.13 at 12:27 pm }

Hmm, that all could be why I get so many invites to these games. Friends trying to level up. I have tried a couple of the hidden object games on FB but they sort of suck and there’s a lot of advertisements. Usually I buy my games from one site and like you said you know what you’re getting.

18 Tiara { 06.06.13 at 8:49 pm }


19 persnickety { 06.10.13 at 6:50 pm }

A bit late to the party (a weekend with no connectivity).

I am already paranoid about the amount of information that can be gleaned from casual perusal of my profile, and find the constant requests from friends regarding games irritating. I accidentally spammed a whole bunch of friends on fb to get coins for a game on my ipad and was not happy, so that game doesn’t get played much.

I am also holding out on the new SimCity, because of the requirement to be online at all times (and having just spent a weekend where the internet connectivity is poor, now find the requirements somewhat discriminatory)

That said- my current igame obsessions are tiny tower and pocket planes- both freebies that don’t require fb linkage (although they do have the option), don’t require money (it isn’t hard to earn the currencies required) and don’t require me to spam. They are quite simplistic, but weirdly addictive

20 burkeman { 06.28.13 at 9:19 am }

Well I’m at level 35 – been connected to FB since the beginning. I have the highest level 35 score AND cleared all the jelly candies. I’ve cleared all the jellies 7 times this week AND still can’t move on to level 36. This game is SO addicting and frustrating!

21 gamm { 06.30.13 at 9:48 pm }

dont be silly,just make anothers 3 accounts on FB and ask “your friends ” to unlock a new episode.
PS: the potato chips there are not healthy
thomas gamm

22 Chris { 07.04.13 at 7:12 am }

People, people. Think outside the box. Go to your settings in your phone and turn auto date and time off. Manually make it tomorrow. Unlimited lives and you can do all 3 quests in ten minutes. No need to ever link the game to FB. After you see your new lives put settings back to auto date and time.

23 Mrs. Linda Hanley { 07.05.13 at 4:16 pm }

Why has it been shown in newsfeed I’m on level 21 when in fact I’m on level 34 that is so incorrect .

24 Kay Tate { 07.06.13 at 1:57 pm }

Sucks that I can’t get off level 35

25 shawna { 07.09.13 at 9:47 pm }

How do I get ticket to play level 35 on android tablet?

26 Cindy { 07.10.13 at 12:12 pm }

Some great advice re: Candy Crush level 35. I, too, will not pay, but did pimp myself out on facebook. Went the 3 quests in 3 days route, but never got the 3rd quest. So now I’m at a standstill – anyone know how to get the 3rd quest? It doesn’t appear anywhere when I sign in. I read somewhere else to disconnect the link to facebook.

27 Anne { 07.12.13 at 11:45 am }

How do I get past level 35? I have a Facebook account but can’t find the connection in the settings… What am I doing wrong?

28 James { 07.13.13 at 4:52 am }

I would totally pay a good chunk of money for Candy Crush, but I’m not paying them one penny to encourage them. They made a digital version of a carnival ring toss game and try to soak every person who installs it for every dime they have. Don’t encourage that kind of gaming.

29 Cristy { 07.13.13 at 5:18 am }

I’m on level 63 and haven’t connected to Facebook or paid there should be a third option. I play the quests or challenges I’m not sure what they call it. The bad thing about it is once you pass one you have to wait 24 hours till the next one there are 3 quests you have to pass

30 Tracey { 07.13.13 at 8:32 am }

Such a well written post… Loved it thank-you from another candy crush sucker

31 Frustrated at level 35! { 07.14.13 at 6:02 pm }

Love that post!
I have been stuck for weeks at 35. Asked friends who sent responses but its not going through for some reason even after they accept my request.
Retired from candy crush!

32 Ryan R { 07.15.13 at 10:33 pm }

You are really worried about someone knowing your name, age, seeing your selfies, groups you like, and the information YOURSELF make public? I would hate to understand the anxiety you must have trust your deposit slip with the teller..

33 Lisa { 07.16.13 at 9:59 am }

I am stuck after passing 35 and feel very disappointed. I asked a few friends for tickets. I’m not sure how this works. I have been able to give extra lives, but I have not seen an option to give tickets. I tried to find the challenges, but there isn’t an option for it on Facebook or on my phone. I would still like to play, but I don’t want to pay or harass my friends.

34 Cheesestraw { 07.18.13 at 7:54 pm }

I’ve found that every time I need to unlock the next episode I receive two tickets immediately
from friends but can’t get the third. The last episode I got the third ticket through mystery quests but can’t seem to find t this time. I still get many requests from fb friends for lives, which I send, but I can’ t move on. I think candy crush puts a block on the third request to encourage you to pay which I won’t do. I ‘m trying to get to 111 but think I will finally opt out.

35 Lisa { 07.21.13 at 3:54 pm }

What if we create a network of “fake” fb people that exists solely to feed candy crush addictions? Could we beat them at their own game?

36 Sherry { 07.22.13 at 12:19 pm }

Goosbye candy crush. I will miss you but I won’t allow myself to be bullied by King.com. Also wont be playing any more King.com games because I now know that they also won’t be free like they say.

37 Lulu { 07.27.13 at 10:22 pm }

You can play the three quests free and move on to next level, that is a good alternative to paying or asking friends.

38 Lulu { 07.27.13 at 10:30 pm }

Also to avoid having to wait 24 hours after you successfully play the quests, you can set your computer clock ahead and voila you can play, also when you are out of lives this works.

39 juliebee manuel { 07.29.13 at 4:08 am }

You can play the candy crush .. you can play three quest free and move on to next level.

40 jwoolman { 07.30.13 at 4:51 am }

Disconnect from Facebook within the game in order to see the Quest option. I never connected, but I guess you do something with the Connect thing on the first page? Someone else may be able to explain it. Then when you finish 35, for example, just tap the next place on the map and you should see the three options: get a ticket from Facebook people, buy a ticket, or quest (old levels with tougher goals). When you finish a quest, you have to wait 24 hours to get a chance at the next one (3 quests to get a ticket for the next batch of levels). While you are working on a quest, the usual rules for waiting to get new lives apply. Thank goodness. I’d never get anything else done otherwise.

41 LORA { 07.31.13 at 7:31 pm }

How did you even know about the game? I only learned about it from playing it on FB and getting FB requests? So you do not play on both your phone and your computer? I guess I am confused as I see it as a FB game first and an phone app second. Plus I don’t have a lot of personal info on my FB acct/profile. FB only knows what I allow it to know so therefore King only gets the same info…which is not much. I guess I don’t agree with you that it is a bait and switch since I played it first on FB and then later on my iphone?! And all FB games offer ways to purchase stuff and offer ways to connect to other people…hence the term social media.

42 Nomorecandycrush { 07.31.13 at 11:39 pm }

I love your post! Thank you very much for explaining it. Could not figure out why I couldn’t pass 35. So long candy crush. I’m not paying or connecting to fb. Ps. So sorry about the pregnancy ads, while going through if. I know the feeling. 🙁

43 Candy Crusher Developers { 08.03.13 at 4:03 pm }

I thoroughly enjoyed your post and totally agree with your statement. It’svery distasteful to false advertise that the game is free only to find out that you have 2 choices – pay up or lose your right to privacy by joining Facebook. So much for a good game but there’s price on my privacy.

44 Candy Crush Without the waiting { 08.05.13 at 10:35 am }

Neat tip for those of you playing Candy Crush on an ipad (I guess this tip applies to phones too). When it says you have to wait 30mins/24 hours for your next set of lives, go into General->dateAndTime and click Automatic time setting to off, then set the time to 3hours ahead (when its the 30 mins wait) or 24 hours ahead for the other case. Go back into Candy Crush and voila! you will see a full set of lives (now exit before playing and click automatic time option back on and then go back into the game!). 😉

45 kelly { 08.08.13 at 10:42 am }

If you dont connect you will get quests to pass…as previously stated . If you simply set the clock forward on your device open candy crush…to show full lives or an unlocked quest..exit out of cc go back into settings and correct your time/date reopen cand crush and …tahdah…no more waiting

46 Mac { 08.09.13 at 2:14 pm }

Ive always had two Facebook accounts, one for all my friends, ect. And the other for all the junk that wants access to my Facebook. So my fake profile has everything changed, my gender, age, where I work, the country I live in, even my profile picture is of al capone, it’s amazing how many adverts for Hawaii there are, and for some reason, people want to add me as a friend, even though I don’t have a clue who they are, so it is only them who get all the junk from these applications.


47 Fluffy { 08.11.13 at 11:11 am }

Got candycrush app.did not know u have to connect to facebook or pay to continue playing certain levels. SO I AM OUT :@

48 Kristin { 08.21.13 at 7:50 am }

How sad. I’m on level 62 and haven’t paid a cent. I have a friend who is on 79 and hasn’t paid a cent. You just have to be patient. I have two friends that quit at 35. Just gave up. Where is the patience in America these days? If you want to move on quickly, you pay. I have two more friends that dumped the app because they couldn’t get past level 35. They told me you have to pay to move on. Not so. My friend and I made it this far without paying!!!!

49 Kristin { 08.21.13 at 7:54 am }

Take your time on level 35! I made it. My friend made it. Why does everything have to come so easy? Just do what the game says and keep moving on. So it takes 24 hours to move to another episode. PLAY ANOTHER GAME for goodness sake!! You are all a bunch of complainers to blame King for your impatience!!

50 Debby { 08.21.13 at 9:58 pm }

Can you not play the quests? I am not connected through Facebook but I have to play 3 quests (one every 24 hours) before I can go on to the next level.

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