Welcome to the latest in our series of Pocket Gamer columns. We're taking the best games writers in the industry and giving them a platform. Veteran journalist Jon Jordan is here each week examining the trends shaping your mobile games scene. This week, he's revisiting Activision Blizzard's $5.9 billion acquisition of King.

Should we be surprised that six years on, Candy Crush Saga is still crushing it?

According to figures from market intelligence outfit Sensor Tower, between April and June, the match-3 game generated $213 million, making it the most successful Western-developed mobile game.

Given King, as a division of Activision Blizzard, is making over $500 million in quarterly sales, I'd suggest Sensor Tower's numbers could underestimate the money-making power of a game that's still permanently ranked within the top 4 on the US iPhone top grossing chart.

Still, it's important to remember Candy Crush Saga as a game, and King as a company, haven't always been in such rude health.

A real saga

Indeed, in the months after Activision Blizzard bought it for $5.9 billion in late 2015, King's sales started a steady decline that suggested those arguing the deal was too expensive might be correct.

By the start of 2017, however, King started to get its act in order. Focusing less on all the other myriad Saga games it had been releasing, it went back to the source, doubling-down on the foundation of its success.

The reasons were obvious. With billions of downloads, the Candy Crush Saga had - and continues to have - a massive audience both of players and one-time players who could be re-engaged. Equally, the core gameplay is so simple, both forgetful old players and new players immediately know what to do.

Basically it's much easier and cheaper to get another million people to start playing Candy Crush Saga than any other game, including its newer stablemates such as Candy Crush Soda Saga.

Combined with more sophisticated live operations, which is the way developers run their games as a 24/7 service to keep players as engaged as possible, so Candy Crush Saga's - and King's - sales started to grow again.

The result is that since Activision Blizzard bought it, King has generated $4.1 billion in sales, or around 70% of the price originally paid. In fact at the current rate that entire $5.9 billion will have been 'repaid' by King's sales by the end of 2018.

Good news for Activision Blizzard, but a hard lesson for those who suggested the deal was too expensive. In a winner-takes-all-market such as mobile gaming, it's always better to bet on an existing hit continuing and improving rather than the success of something brand new.

If this column has given you food for thought, share your comments below and bookmark Jon Jordan's page for more of the same next Monday. Remember to also check out words of wisdom and mirth from experienced games journalists Susan Arendt and Harry Slater each week.