Ownership and autonomy core to King's success

Ownership and autonomy core to King's success
Aaron Lee

By Aaron Lee

September 17th 2013 at 10:50AM

Head of London studio says King does not engage in crunch

King, the company behind Candy Crush Saga, has said ownership and staff collaboration are the reason behind the success of its titles.

Catharina Lavers Mallet, studio head of King London, explained that the company’s way is to give employees a lot of ownership and autonomy, so that they are able to move quickly and experiment.

“I strongly believe that a large part of the reason we have been able to be so successful is because of our culture,” she told Develop in an interview.

“We move extremely quickly to adapt to the needs of our players and to respond to what they like and don’t like. This means we need to stay nimble, which relies on building strong, small teams with a lot of ownership and autonomy.

“If teams have to wait around for approval to implement their ideas, they will likely miss the opportunity, so we hire smart people and let them get on with it.”

Match-three mobile game Candy Crush Saga has become a global success story, topping download charts and helping its maker oust Zynga as the top games provider on Facebook.

Lavers Mallet went on to say that King London does not engage in crunch, and said that its creativity comes from giving its teams lots of opportunities to mix, both formally and informally.

She said: “We have an extremely flat management structure, and although we have designers, everyone in the team is expected to come up with ideas for features or ways that we can optimise the game.

“Although we as a rule do not crunch, we spend a lot of time together so it’s important that people get along.

“King is probably the friendliest place I’ve ever worked, and we try hard to maintain an environment that is casual yet professional. I like it when people are a little bit weird and don’t take themselves too seriously – after all, we are making fun for a living.”

Read more about King’s London studio in our interview.