100 million daily players and billions of dollars: The real significance of Supercell's mid-market appeal

In the middle

100 million daily players and billions of dollars: The real significance of Supercell's mid-market appeal

Thanks to the immediate success of fourth game Clash Royale, Supercell has announced its games now attract 100 million players every day.

Given it's already one of the biggest game companies in terms of revenue and profitability, the fact that a lot of people play Supercell's games isn't a massive surprise, of course.

Yet, one thing that's interesting about the figure is how it compares to other mobile game developers and publishers.

Across all its games, Zynga has around 21 million daily active players for example, Gameloft around 19 million and Glu Mobile 5 million.

Subway Surfers-scale

One company definitely has more daily active players than Superecell.

King has over 130 million but this total is spread over a much larger number of titles.

Alternatively, endless runner Subway Surfer said it had 27 million active players in September 2015. That's a large number, but something - on average, at least - all of Supercell's games are matching.

Of course, it's very unlikely that 100 million number neatly divides into 4 set of 25 million. More likely Clash of Clans leads, with Boom Beach having more players than Hay Day.

Less than a week into its lifecycle Clash Royale wouldn't have time to have built up to those previous games' level... yet.

Daily payers

Another way of thinking about the situation is the number of players Supercell has and the money it makes.

Supercell has found the sweetspot between operating games with broad appeal and those that monetise like niche hardcore titles.

Supercell makes a lot of money - around $2 billion a year - so the 100 million daily figure would mean that it nominally generates around $0.05 per player per day (what the industry calls ARPDAU, Average Revenue Per Daily Active Player).

Other developers monetise their players on a much higher level. For example, GungHo Online's Puzzle & Dragons has been downloaded around 40 million times globally, but still generates over $1 billion a year.

Its nominal daily rate would be more like $0.15.

Yet games such as Puzzle & Dragons and Mixi's Monster Strike are outliers - niche appeal money-printing machines - even within the insanely lucrative Japanese mobile market.

Games such as Subway Surfer which have very big daily audience typically also have very low monetisation rates; more like $0.001.

That's how they gain such a big audience. They're ad-funded and players don't receive any hard sell.

Which is the real significance of the 100 million number

Unlike any other games company (mobile or otherwise), Supercell has found the sweetspot between developing and operating games with broad appeal - 100 million daily players - and those that monetise like niche hardcore titles - billions of dollars of IAPs annually.

Oh, and it only has 180 staff. 

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.


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Fraser Ross MacInnes Product/Design Director at Danke Games
obvious mistake - I meant 80/20 rev distribution i.e. 80% of rev comes from 20% of payers - not a payer/non payer split as I originally wrote.
Fraser Ross MacInnes Product/Design Director at Danke Games
The question I still have is, for 100+m per year products does, does the 80/20 non payers/payers conversion split still hold? Surely given the scale of those products, they essentially have an enormous middle class of moderate spenders? It seems impossible that the revenue generated by products like CC and CoC could come from a predominately whale driven revenue base...
Jeremy Lilford CEO at Gold Limited
I think this is going to make a great addition to mobile esports. We are already seeing the industry growing rapidly with real money mobile games