The Success And Failure Of Supercell

The Silicon Valley ideology “fail fast, fail often” is one example. It means that you should start making something, expect to fail (and fail) at reaching your initial objective, learn from your failure, and then use what you learned for a better outcome on your next iteration. Then you try again and fail. Theoretically, learning through a concentrated succession of failures should help you achieve an excellent result faster.

Introduction

Following this maxim, Supercell is incredibly adept at failing to create games that are a success. Some people might be shocked to know that the company is one of the few mobile game studios that can consistently hold the top spots on iOS and Android’s top-grossing charts. Supercell’s worth has reached over $5 billion thanks to games like Hay Day, Clash of Clans, and most recently, Clash Royale, demonstrating unquestionable financial success.

Supercell Games Are Being Destroyed

The Success And Failure Of Supercell
Supercell build a $10bn empire

However, that success was based on the destruction of Supercell games by the teams who created them. Jonathan Dower, a Supercell game lead and artist (and a self-described serial game killer), described how out of the studio’s most recent ten titles, seven were killed in prototype, two were murdered at soft launch, and one, Clash Royale, actually went global in March at GDC. 

Currently dominating the mobile charts is Clash Royale. That’s not terrible for the one game out of ten that ended successfully. However, this is Supercell’s method and isn’t suited or relevant to all game genres. Nevertheless, there are reasons to continue working on a poor game over an extended period rather than wrecking it. Rocket League, a game that took seven years to develop, is a recent example. 

There’s also the argument that Supercell is a corporation with the financial wherewithal to scrap a game (or games) before release entirely, but many game creators don’t have that luxury.

NAMESUPERCELL
HEADQUARTERSHELSINKI
FOUNDED2010
PARENT ORGANIZATIONTENCENT

The Graveyard Of Supercell

Supercell, the developer of several top games, including Heyday, Clash of Clans, Boom Beach, Clash Royale, and Brawl Stars, claims that these are the only five games that have survived. However, in a 2016 video they uploaded to thank their 100 million players, they mentioned that they had already failed in 14 games, and that number has since gone up. Here are some of their stories, but we might never learn about all of them.

  1. Magic 

One of the most complex decisions at the time was probably to destroy a game with the code name magic since Supercell had made the difficult decision to kill all ongoing projects that had developed around that cross-platform vision, as quartered by the CEO. 

They were all enthusiastic about magic, it looked fantastic, and it was a game that had never been seen on Facebook. This game was being developed by dedicated combat developers who had been working nonstop for about six months.

We all do know one thing, though, and that is that after they killed the project, all members of that team eventually developed clash of clans. So yes, the five people working on the magic created clash of clans. This could hint at what magic was supposed to be; perhaps it was similar to clash of clans, like, I think the answer will always be a mystery.

  1. Tower

The first game made available for public testing by Supercell was Pets vs. Orcs. Unfortunately, this game and tower were dropped later, but what was the tower? Unfortunately, despite spending days looking for this enigmatic game, all I could uncover was its kill date in the spring of 2012.

Thought I’d bring up one intriguing point: Supercell revealed that the inspiration for Clash Royale came from a previous project they were working on. Could this have been the same project? This is, of course, just conjecture, but tower just made me think of clash royale, so maybe there was a connection, or maybe there wasn’t. To this day, we still don’t know anything about tower. Tower was killed in 2012, and Supercell reportedly worked on clash royales between 2014 and 2015. This means there was a two-year cap.

Mega-Hits By Supercell That Define A Genre

The great success of Clash of Clans as a standalone game is plain to see. Whether we’re examining the game’s (estimated) $6.5Bn in lifetime sales, its consistency at the top of the grossing lists, or the way it has destroyed all the new entries trying to capture a piece of the enormous financial pie, it is clear that the game is a success. 

The following components are the foundation of Clash of Clans’ success: 

Engaging gameplay: Anyone who believes mobile games aren’t “deep enough” has never played Clash of Clans. This game offers some of the most well-balanced, tense, and strategic gameplay on a mobile device. Both gamers looking for a very high skill cap experience and those who want to have fun and destroy the opposition’s base will find it relevant. Clans’ evolution is likewise very fluid. Every town hall releases additional troops and defenses, enticing gamers to master sophisticated new attacks.

Socially transformative encounter: As previously said, the release of Clan Wars was the turning moment that elevated Clans from resounding success to one of the best mobile games ever. Sharing a common objective, working together, and having in-depth conversations about attack methods were all made possible by Clan Wars, giving players new motivations to keep playing the game and pursuing progression. Top players can then “carry the squad” and show off their talents.

Intense economy: If Clans’ gameplay and social experience foster a never-ending drive to advance, its economics offers a progression curve that is almost perpetually moving forward. Even for heavy spenders, maximizing your progression takes years, and for the majority of players, it is more of an aspirational aim than a practical objective.

Conclusion

Supercell continues to work on new games in secret and uses the name “supercells,” which refers to how they operate in small teams of 5 for each game and only 5. Many things have changed for Supercell since 2010, but the underlying ideals they were built are more vital than ever today. Since several failures are nothing compared to one major success, Supercell has grown to be very cautious about the soft-launched games and made them available worldwide.

Supercell, is it going away? 

No, Supercell has no plans to stop making Clash of Clans or any justification for doing so. With four new spin-off games, Supercell has successfully enlarged the COC universe. These rumors might spread online partly because of their most recent update.

Is Supercell a profitable business?

For the year, it had the most mobile game revenue in Europe. With a $526M overall gross, it doubled its lifetime earnings. However, Supercell would end the year on a downward trend despite the popularity of Covid and Brawl Stars. $1.48B in revenue in 2020 saw a decrease from 2021.

Clash of Clans: Is it still expanding?

This number would rise to 37 million players a year later. The number of daily players for Clash of Clans reached approximately 2 million in April 2021. 

Why were Supercell games banned in Vietnam?

Developer of Clash of Clans Indefinitely leaving Vietnam owing to “local regulatory difficulties,” Supercell Supercell, the company behind Clash of Clans, has left Vietnam permanently due to “local regulatory concerns.”

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