NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- With apologies to beloved blues legend B.B. King, it appears the king is dead.
King Digital Entertainment (KING), known for its Candy Crush mobile games, has had a rough go of it since becoming a publicly traded company, with shares down 17% since its initial public offering in March 2014. That's largely due to the nature of the mobile games business, which increasingly relies on hit franchises that are often difficult to replicate.
The company reported first-quarter earnings Thursday of 61 cents a share on $569.5 million in revenue, down 6% year over year. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were expecting 53 cents a share and $553 million in sales.
Dublin, Ireland-based King said gross bookings, an important metric for gaming companies, rose 3% sequentially to $604 million, though that was down 7% year over year, largely due to foreign currency volatility, most notably the effects of the rising U.S. dollar.
King also noted the company's monthly active users, those who play their games at least once a month, rose to 550 million, up from 481 million in the year ago period. Monthly Unique Payers, or those who actually pay for in-app purchases while playing the games, were 8.523 million at the end of the quarter, up 2% sequentially, but down 28% from the first quarter of 2014.
Candy Crush, which now accounts for around 38% of total bookings (down from 67% in the first quarter of 2014), has become a phenomenon since launching on Facebook (FB) and on mobile devices several years ago, but King has had a rough go of it since then. The company has been able to diversify with other games such as Candy Crush Soda Saga, Farm Heroes Saga, Pet Rescue Saga and Bubble Witch 2 Saga, but those did not translate to strong second quarter guidance, leaving investors disappointed.