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Hot Five: Supercell’s Squad Busters supremacy, Brawl Stars bounces back, and a games industry journey at King

Our quick-fix roundup of the hottest stories on PocketGamer.biz
Hot Five: Supercell’s Squad Busters supremacy, Brawl Stars bounces back, and a games industry journey at King

Start your week right with our quick take on the stories that are impacting the mobile industry right now.

To help get you primed and ready for another week in mobile gaming, we’ve curated the biggest stories you need to know from the last seven days.

1) Brawl Stars has already earned more in 2024 than the entirety of 2023

Supercell’s Brawl Stars has achieved eight consecutive months of growth and reached a new revenue record this April. After yearly earnings have declined since 2020, this marks an important turn of fortunes as 2024 revenue have already surpassed 2023’s.

In the first four months of 2024, Brawl Stars has generated $236.4 million - far exceeding 2023’s $154.8 million across the full year. And with revenue rising so rapidly, the bulk of that $236.4 million came from March and April alone, with the current trajectory indicating this could be Brawl Stars’ most impressive year yet.

2) Game analysis: The evolution of Squad Busters

Supercell’s Squad Busters is currently in soft launch, and GameMasters’ Jakub Remiar has taken a deep dive into its evolution to arrive at this point. A global release date of May 29th has already been set and the title will mark Supercell’s first fully launched game in six years - escaping the axe that chops down so many other games.

It appears that gacha mechanics really are the way to go on mobile, as Brawl Stars’ star drop system has been iterated upon for the new title too - "indeed superior" as a monetisation model.

3) Squad Busters has 20 million pre registrations with 30 million in its sights

Continuing to dominate the news cycle and player interest, Squad Busters’ upcoming global launch has surpassed 20 million pre-registrations. Supercell is confident the title can reach 30 million before release on May 29th and as attention continues to swing its way, that goal is looking like an achievable one.

With such a short soft launch period Squad Busters has evidently met Supercell’s high bar for success, and looks set to be a major hit when it rolls out with so much excitement around the company’s first fully released new game of the decade.

4) A Thinking Ape lays off staff across game design, software engineering, art teams and more

Mobile games developer A Thinking Ape has laid off employees across a range of departments as restructuring get underway, impacting art departments, game design, product analysis, community management, software engineering and more. A senior recruiter has also been laid off.

"Unfortunately, this week, ATA had to restructure leading to the departure of some incredibly talented people. A Thinking Ape is known for making massively popular mobile strategy games that requires a high talent bar to achieve. Everyone we've had to say goodbye to has been instrumental in building our successful games," A Thinking Ape said.

5) King’s Paula Ingvar: a games industry journey from "I’m not worthy!" to Candy Crush Soda’s VP of product

During our visit to King’s headquarters in April, we sat down with Candy Crush Soda’s VP of product Paula Ingvar to find out more about Soda’s journey through the past decade across Facebook and mobile, and its changing form to keep up in the modern landscape.

We also discussed Ingvar’s move from traffic engineering to the games industry following encouragement from friends, entering a new line of work she has only ever found "stimulating". Ingvar even answered the king of all questions: What impact is Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard really having on King?