Only very few games can presume to reach their fifth birthday as one of the most-played titles on its platform during its lifespan. Clash of Clans is one of the chosen ones. The game from Supercell is still in fashion and it’s observing its fifth anniversary fighting for its spot as one of the most important games for mobile devices against its spinoff Clash Royale. To celebrate this rather nice problem, we offer an overview of the Clash of Clans story in search of the keys to its success.

It all started in 2010

While Clash of Clans officially came to life on August 2, 2012, we’ve got to go back to 2010 to find its real roots. This is the year that the studio Supercell was born in cold Finland. Founded by 15 people, Supercell was set in motion by former programmers from other mobile gaming studios who wanted to create games accessible to a large number of players, with popularity always in mind. After a failed attempt with Gunshine.net, they decided to take another strategy and – seeing the success of Zinga with Farmville – released Hay Day, their first hit that laid the bases for future Supercell projects: an easy-to-learn gameplay, pretty cartoon graphics, and a heavy emphasis on the pay-or-wait model without this system being frustrating.

The success of Hay Day prompted them to release Clash of Clans in an attempt to get closer to the world of strategy more typical of PCs than smartphones and tablets. And after five years we can definitively say that was not a bad move. In its first year it was one of the most-played games on iOS and on October 7, 2013, it would come out on Android in a strategy that would let Supercell tweak the game model even further: a title to satisfy both new gamers and ones who had been playing for a long time already. The project born with the name “Magic” has worked proper magic in the five years it’s been with us.

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Clash of Clans

Breathtaking numbers

You might go a bit crazy if you sit down to tally up the Clash of Clans stats. Supercell has released a funny video that drops some head-spinning numbers: in the past five years players have spent 1.9 trillion hours building defenses for their towns, have won 44 billion three-star victories, and have seen 100 billion of their town halls destroyed. These are breathtaking stats that confirm what we already knew: that Clash of Clans has always been among the most enjoyed games on the different devices on which it is available.

But not only does it stand out as one of the most played games – it’s also one of the biggest revenue generators. Data presented by SuperData Research shows that last year the game brought in more than $1.2 billion and that was a year with more than ferocious competition from hits like Pokémon GO and Supercell’s own Clash Royale, which came in third place among the top revenue earners with $1.1 million.

Clash of Clans

These are especially stunning figures considering that 2016 was a rather stagnant year for Clash of Clans. According to an interview with Supercell CEO Ilkka Paananen, its success is due to their sole “focus in doing what we do best, improv[ing] our games further,” without worrying too much about their rivals and going into a spiral of game releases like Rovio (Angry Birds) did or King is doing at the momentThe important thing for Supercell is to keep improving the games they have. Still, we’d be a bit naive if we didn’t realize that a good chunk of Clash of Clans’ success has something to do with the amazing marketing strategy the company carried out between 2013 and 2015, going out with a bang with a Super Bowl ad parodying the movie Taken. Nothing that doesn’t get a boost from a little Liam Neeson.

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An uncertain future?

After five years in the spotlight, Clash of Clans remains a heavyweight inside mobile gaming market … and outside it, as well. This is one of those titles that marks a before and after in the gaming industry and that unquestionably will prove a textbook case on how to achieve success. But it’s not just important because of the money it’s generating – it’s got a lot of other achievements under its belt, too, like being the game that took the Supercell CEO to the prestigious BAFTA Games to give a speech, and being the first representative of a mobile gaming company to do it, to boot.

The future of Clash of Clans seems stable in the short to medium term, but we don’t know what will happen further on. It’s clear that Supercell is now channeling much more effort toward Clash Royale and now they’re also quite busy with their latest title Brawl Stars. So it’s hard to say if Clash of Clans will still be trendy in a year’s time. But it’s difficult to think otherwise when the revenue figures for this past June show Clash of Clans still in third place. Its latest big update, the Builder Base, has gotten a warm reception and some 90% of players have already played it, according to an interview with Senior Server Engineer Jonas Collaros.

Be all that as it may, we’ve certainly been enjoying the Clash of Clans fun while it lasts. Happy fifth birthday!

Clash of Clans

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