Supercell is a dominant global player in mobile apps, valued at close to $10bn.
It has achieved this with the games Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, Boom Beach and Hay Day.

But what is it that separates their games from others? Well we could talk about UX and gamification, but we want to look at engagement and repeat usage.
Special events drive sessions
Game events can increase app opens, but opens revert to normal when the event has finished.
Supercell runs events in games, whether it be a tournament or release of a new character, both are designed to increase engagement and participation of players.

We studied the number of times Clash Royale was opened during a special tournament card release in May this year.

Highlighted on the chart you can see that Clash Royale sessions (blue section of chart) increased during the event and then fell back to the normal trend over time.

What Supercell is achieving is retention, they bring users back in, get them opening their games more often and as user sessions reduce another event brings them back in.


Supercell Games Crossover
Gamers play multiple Supercell titles... because they are similar and no learning curve
Have Supercell succeeded in getting players to cross from one game to another? Yes, and no. The following shows individual game users and the number of times they are opening Supercell games.

The following chart shows Supercell game opens on an individual user basis. A bar with more than one color means the user is playing more than one Supercell game and the higher the bar the heavier the user.

The most common pairing is for users to play Clash of Clans and Clash Royale. Hay Day players tend to stick to the one game.

But any way we look at it, players of Supercell games are constantly opening and playing their games, and therefore spending money.
Big Installation Base
Clash of Clans still rules, but Clash Royale is a more even spread.
Games are global, and Supercell has a global installation base. Estimated that almost 8% of phones has Clash of Clans installed.
Stop and think about that in raw numbers, it is a massive installation base they have captured.

However the challenge is not to just get installs, but to drive in-app purchases which are notoriously hard in certain market like India.

How? What and Why!
Supercell have cracked the formula for hooking users and extracting in-app purchases
Game theory has existed for a long time and it continues to evolve. With mobile devices we are gathering an understanding of how to drive engagement like never before. Engagement that often leads to addiction.

Supercell have 'cracked' the formula and applied this across all their games.
Required Tutorials
Their game tutorials teach you the basics and introduce features.
They are fun and make it easy for you to win, and of course get a reward for winning.
Fast Leveling
Early rewards flow quickly, new characters, abilities and levels to keep you playing. There is a constant 'carrot' of new items to get.
The prizes are hidden, in chests and unlock after a period of time which achieves two things. It builds anticipation of what will be in the chest, and it gets the user back into the game when the chest is unlocked (brilliant!)
Level Up - not without your money
As you progress in the games it becomes almost impossible to 'level up' without buying upgrades. Spend months grinding away or pay a few dollars?
The drip, drip, drip of in app purchases
The great thing about in-app-purchases is you do not add up the total you have spent. A $7.99 upgrade seems like nothing, but if you do that once a week how much have you actually spent on the game?
Heavy users are literally spending $1,000's of dollars.
But it is not that simple, plenty have failed
We have made it all sound very simple, but it isn't. Many have tried and failed, Supercell has changed the face of mobile games, for now. But they were only founded in 2010.

Games and game company come and go (think Farmville, Angry Birds) and it is hard to stay on top of the game with so many trying to knock you off.

So hats off to Super Cell for what they have achieved, but watch your back because everyone is chasing you.