Mobile Mavens

Is Clash Royale guaranteed to provide Supercell with another Clash of Clans-scale success?

Is Clash Royale guaranteed to provide Supercell with another Clash of Clans-scale success?

Since its appearance in soft launch, Supercell's Clash Royale has utterly (and understandably) hijacked many discussion within the mobile games industry about the biggest game of 2016. 

It is, after all, the follow-up to Clash of Clans - arguably the biggest game in the world right now.

However, with Supercell having misfired in the past with Spooky Pop and Smash Land both on the chopping block in 2015, we asked our Mobile Mavens the following questions:

  • Have you been playing Clash Royale?
  • Is it guaranteed to be Supercell's next major success, or is the hype premature?

 

William D. Volk Chief Futurist Forward Reality

I have not played this, but it looks like it drove about 20,000 downloads a day in January with the limited launch in Canada, Australia and Hong Kong, with impressive revenue per download (approaching $1), so it is monetising well.

I suspect it will be a major success.

Adam Telfer Product Lead Wooga

Adam has been in the mobile game industry since 2007, creating games independently. He's since grown into a full 50+ person studio manager.

Recently he's taken a position at Wooga in Berlin to sharpen his design skills and work with the world's best to create amazing, well-crafted products onto the mobile marketplace.

I've been playing quite a bit and really enjoying it.

Will it be a success? Yes. You can already see from the App Annie estimates that it has been a very strong soft launch for Supercell.

It's already in the Top 5 Grossing in Canada. They've already committed to global launch in March.

Key systems that make it a success:

  • Their cards and card upgrading System
  • Chest slot system for pacing players without energy
  • Early focus on clans which will bring players back to the game for months

I go into way more detail here.

The real question now is whether Supercell can scale the game. Can they add many more cards, keep the game fresh, add more arenas, get clans battling other clans?

Will this game's 300+ day retention compete with Clash of Clans and Boom Beach?

Just seeing how strong of a basis they have now in soft launch, I'm confident they will find ways to scale the game.

This should turn out to be one of their biggest successes.

Will Luton Senior Product Manager Rovio Stockholm

I don't believe you can spend as much as in Clash of Clans, and long-term goals aren't well defined or strong.
Will Luton

I played it pretty hardcore at launch.

Mechanically the game is fantastic - super sticky with a strong pull to early monetisation. Additionally, the production quality is exceptional.

However, my concerns are the monetisation volume and long term retention. I don't believe you can spend as much as in Clash of Clans, and long-term goals aren't well defined or strong.

I churned two to three weeks in as did a lot of my friends and co-workers.

That said, I have a belief it will see top 5 grossing worldwide in 2016. The game is certainly good enough, plus they'll get great platform support and K factor [virality].

I'm uncertain if it has the longevity of Supercell's other hits, however.

Scott Foe Chief Product Officer Ignited Artists

Nothing in this life is "guaranteed." That said, Supercell is has never been afraid to kill game productions that don't perform well, long before those titles ever see global launch.

Supercell understands this industry better than most, and by fiat of Clash Royale's worldwide launch, we can be sure that the title will earn out for Supercell.

I am ecstatic to see that real-time multiplayer is finally being rediscovered for mobile, and, hopefully, Clash Royale's success will silence those ostrich-memoried critics who insist that real-time multiplayer cannot find traction in the mobile gaming space.

(Those same ostrich-memoried critics don't remember the mid-aughts, and wonderful real-time multiplayer titles from tiny mobile platforms such as Reset Generation and Pathway to Glory.)

Keep the play sessions incredibly short, the matchmaking invisibly crisp, and the free-to-play merchandising slick, and real-time multiplayer offers an entirely new and fertile dimension for mobile content to explore.

Onward, playing together!

Shintaro Kanaoya CEO Chorus Worldwide

Founder and CEO of Chorus Worldwide, a publisher for Western mobile developers seeking success in the Asian markets, Shintaro has over 20 years' experience within the gaming industry.

He has worked in various roles from game production, localisation, marketing and business development at companies such as EA, SCEE, Rare and Microsoft.

Just re-downloaded it today due to this question.

I think it's an incredibly strong outing and could become Supercell's 4th pillar. The production values are fantastic, and this feels like a "next-gen" phone game.

A card set comprised entirely of Marvel characters, anyone?
Shintaro Kanaoya

The formula of having a very simple core game, with all the depth and mastery (and monetization) existing in the meta-game, is tried and tested (see Puzzle & Dragons especially).

Longevity should be easy to achieve through additional card types, and it'll be interesting to see if Supercell go the GungHo route and bring in licensed characters to leverage existing fanbases.

A card set comprised entirely of Marvel characters, anyone?

If that sounds far-fetched, note that P&D is up to 2,800 characters, with Superman to Hello Kitty, and everything in between licensed in.

Definitely see this as having legs, and with their UA and brand strength to call on, I wouldn't bet against this jumping into the Top 10 Grossing and staying there for 1 year plus.

Clash Royale is an awesome game. There's a huge crowd of fans, YouTubers, and competitive gamers waiting for its release, so there's no doubt it will make quite a splash when it launches.

It's User Acquisition pipeline will be fueled by the Clash of Clans brand appeal, possibly the most popular gaming brand at the moment (besides Minecraft, not pictured):

Clash trumps all bar Minecraft

The soft-launch seems to have gone incredibly well. The fact that Clash Royale hit the top grossing spot in Canada on day 1 indicates a strong interest from players in spending very early in their lifetime, as demonstrated by other card-battle games.

I do question the long-term longevity of the game past a few weeks, but that would be judging it on its very first version.

There's no doubt Supercell's experience in live ops, updates and content releases will help reach and sustain a top-10 ranking over time.

Kudos to them, then. There must be a dozen teams crunching hard to release the first clone - "Boom Clash," anyone?

Harry Holmwood European CEO Marvelous Entertainment

A 20-year veteran of video games and online space, Harry is European CEO of Marvelous AQL, a Japanese developer and publisher of social, mobile and console games, known for console games like No More Heroes and Harvest Moon, but now highly successful in the free-to-play mobile and web space in Japan and Asia.

A games programmer before joining Sony’s early PlayStation team in 1994, he then founded developer Pure Entertainment, which IPO’d and launched a free-to-play online gaming service way back in 1999.

He was also a director of pioneering motion gaming startup In2Games, which was sold to a US group in 2008.

Along the way, he’s been a corporate VP, troubleshooter, and non-exec to a variety of companies and investors in and around the games sector.

Not a lot to add other than agree with the general enthusiasm about the game. It looks great and the onboarding process is immaculate so I'm sure their early retention is excellent.

As Nicolas says, very encouraging to see strong spending so early on too.

I haven't had a chance to play long enough to comment meaningfully on its longevity or long-term monetisation, but what struck me immediately was how much this game screams 'HIT' compared to the other (since cancelled) soft launch titles we've seen recently from Supercell.

While great fun for a while, they just didn't compare to this one. I suspect Supercell has struck gold once again, hats off to them.

Kevin Corti Principal Spidershed Media

The fundamental points I would make are…

  • That the game is super-easy to start playing (anyone can plonk resources onto the battlefield with a single tap)
  • There is always something to do whenever I open game
  • The gameplay type itself is commonly understood (tower defence & card battlers)
  • The core game loops are nice and short (I can play even if I only have a couple of minutes)
  • There is clear depth and longevity to the game (lots of cards to collect and upgrade
  • It uses all the proven techniques and features from previous games (especially clans)
  • New arenas and endless opponents to make me feel it is worth investing time into) - it is exceptionally polished.
  • The ‘TV Royale’ feature where I can watch game between top-ranked players is a turbo-charging of traditional leaderboards and draws nicely upon the engagement generated by YouTube game videos and eSports events.

It has a clear personality (e.g. great characters), I trust the developer, and it builds upon a brand that many millions of mobile gamers will recognise as one they have already engaged with (and spent money on).

It’s hard to see this one failing!

Features Editor

Matt is really bad at playing games, but hopefully a little better at writing about them. He's Features Editor for PocketGamer.biz, and has also written for lesser publications such as IGN, VICE, and Paste Magazine.

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