Being a Clash of Clans player myself, I decided to venture out and attend the first ever Clash of Clans meetup that took place yesterday in Supercells native Helsinki. Frankly speaking, I had no idea that I would follow up with an article, but what took place got me inspired and I would like to share my thoughts from the meetup and later my understanding of their success formula.
In addition to sneak previews of the upcoming update, free beer, and a strategy talk, I also got some insight into what type of people play this game and just how serious it can get.
Contrary to what you may think, most of the attendees were quite serious about the game at a competitive level. Some wore suits and seemed to be from the business world, which makes me wonder about the target market and user demographics for the game.
The most shocking fact came about when I saw a screenshot of somebody’s village who had 300 000 gems, which is an in-game currency that you can buy. That would mean that this person bought around 2 000 EUR worth of gems. Of course the screenshot could've been fake.
So if it was previously a little difficult to figure out how a small percentage of paying players manages to ensure Supercell’s 500,000$ per day revenue, it now became a little more clear.
The evening culminated in a sneak preview of one the most significant updates to the game since it’s launch. In short, there were new buildings, new hero units and most notably – a new type of resource for high level players. This would be a fourth resource in the game and will make high level players more likely to attack one another. Of course it is also yet another way to spend a lot of gems in-game.
Which brings me to my final point. Why is Clash of Clans so much fun? And how come so many people are willing to buy the in-game currency? From my point of view it boils down to two very simple things: quality and economics.
The modern start-up needs to understand the concept of quality and that does not only reflect the game/product itself but everything that surrounds it: customer support, production value, graphics, experience, loading speeds, social aspect, marketing, etc.
We, as consumers, have become very spoiled with the abundance of choice and great games/startups. So much so that a single case of bad customer support, a poorly drawn graphic or a misspelled word can turn us off completely. Most notably, we hate being pushed into making a purchase. Supercell never does this, the purchase is always up to you. There are no annoying pop-ups and reminders about your need to buy more gems, it is just an option that is available to you (Always). Supercell understands quality in terms that not many companies do and this is a part of their success.
Secondly, they understand economics and not just the monetary part of it – behavioral economics is also crucial. The game revolves around “time is money” or the concept of opportunity cost. With that, they are able to tailor the pricing to match every consumer and by measuring the statistics on all in-game actions they can always perfect the in-game logic.
Of course the in-game economy plays a significant role, where absolutely everything is interconnected and is always tied to time. The more you play, the longer everything takes, the more frustrated you are to get to the next level faster, the more likely you are to spend a few gems to speed up the game.
These two factors, put together create what Clash of Clans is – the best free to play game currently available.