How Supercell is transforming for its next chapter | Pocket

In just the past year, Supercell has doubled the team size for its flagship game Clash of Clans. The title’s GM Stuart McGaw said the small team size had “become an obstacle”, admitting that players hadn’t been getting the best possible version of the game under the previous self-imposed structure.

“With this bigger team, we have some ambitious plans for 2024,” he added.

For the first nine months of 2023, AppMagic data shows Clash of Clans player spending on the App Store and Google Play down 23.9% Y/Y. Current Q4 spending is also tracking significantly lower. Next year will be key in proving if this strategy can provide more lucrative results.

Builder Base

Not just expanding its development teams (including those new senior hires and producers), Supercell has stepped up work in other areas too.

In November 2023, it opened up its Creator Program to more up-and-coming influencers by lowering the threshold to gain access to the initiative. The scheme provides members with game assets, information on updates and new games, and merchandise. It also allows access to the Creator Academy, launched earlier in the year, which provides tips on creating videos and growing a channel.

The Creator Program is led by Rick Crane, a former YouTube content creator himself, who started leading the new strategy as manager in October 2022 (he previously acted as community manager and player support after joining the company in 2018).

X marks the spot

Then there’s Supercell X, focusing on building the player experience for Supercell ID, Supercell Store and Supercell Web. It’s headed up by Aki Saarinen, who joined the Finnish developer in October 2023 after previously working as chief product officer at Mercari.

The division’s goal? To build a “world-class player experience” with a focus on Supercell ID, the Supercell Store and Supercell Web.

Supercell ID enables players to keep all their progress on a single account, across devices. This also connects them to the Supercell Store, where players can get special web-based deals on in-game gems, diamonds and season passes. It’s part of a ‘direct-to-consumer’ strategy increasingly deployed by the world’s top games publishers to avoid app store fees, generate more revenue and provide better deals for players.

While a web store can’t help grow a player base in a hostile mobile games market – sparked by Apple’s privacy changes with ATT – it can help big publishers like Supercell grow profits by avoiding the 30% revenue share by substantially reducing fees on payment transactions.

New platforms

Let’s not forget that the world’s most famous mobile games developer also opened a studio in North America in 2021 to make games for PC and consoles. In the following year, it partnered with Channel37, which is working on an unannounced. PC game. 

Apple’s privacy changes and Google’s own Privacy Sandbox have seen some mobile publishers flee to other ‘safer’ havens. Paananen noted at the start of the year that while Supercell is known for its mobile games, “perhaps thinking exclusively about mobile is too limiting”.

“We want to make the best new games, period,” he said. “I imagine mobile will remain our most important platform for the foreseeable future, due to its reach, but maybe we need to draw inspiration from everywhere/anywhere innovation is happening.”

Last but not least, Supercell has an eye on expanding its own internal game engine, “maybe even to rival third-party engines”. It’s a signal that it has eyes on bigger games and potentially making the engine more cross-platform friendly – after all, it has launched Clash of Clans and Clash Royale on Google Play Games beta for Windows PC.