A less reserved me would have taken a picture: I was riding Muni (public transit), reading an article about the hit game Candy Crush Saga when I noticed the woman to my left actually playing the game.
It was too picturesque and I wanted to laugh. The game company’s target demographic of “women between the ages of 25 and 55,” according to that article, was sitting next to me as I read stats on her game.
One of my housemates also plays Candy Crush, and I sometimes watch over her shoulder in our living room after work. Those cartoonish colors and flash and shine really can be addicting. What’s remarkable, though, is how that simple moment of clicking the game open and fiddling around for a bit… happens 600 million times a day, on mobile devices alone. My first assumptions that games are mundane, a filler of time between more important appointments after all, are banished in the face of such numbers. Or how about the 450 million other people playing monthly. I guess that’d be why the company would need a whopping 450 employees worldwide.
The Silicon Valley ecosystem hosts innumerable products that are totally intangible and seemingly insignificant, yet employ so many skilled people, drive so much money, and help feed families. Critics, including me at times, mock the market for those contradictions. However, the longer I live here, the more I realize: it’s hard to argue something “isn’t important” when livelihoods depend on it.