Ok, first off I want to give a shout out to the people from my App Elite class. Lots of these guys are CRUSHING IT and I’m very proud of them. I’ve received numerous emails about people quitting their jobs and there are over 16 people who went from nothing to making over $500 net profit per day.
That is freakin’ awesome. Seriously life changing stuff!
One of those guys is Sean Demeyere who owns Awesome Wicked Games. Sean is a smart dude and is always watching the newswire to see what’s going on in the mobile game world. He sent me this article on indie game developers Supercell, the makers of Clash of Clans, and it blew me away.
Supercell is a game company from Finland that was founded in 2010. They must be drinking the same water as their Angry Bird neighbors, Rovio, because they are now making an estimated $700,000 PER DAY off of two games that are currently in the top 10:
This is interesting because there is a shift in Social Games going on that I talked about some in this post.
The first social games were just about managing resources. There wasn’t any actual REAL game play… it was just building and waiting. Even though I have built a couple, I had a hard time actually getting into it. There was absolutely no STRATEGY really involved.
I’ll play games with strategy for hours on end (I’m the biggest Stratego nerd I know), but just building things and waiting for things drives me nuts. That’s one reason we decided to make a click-style game like Mafia Wars called Future War. Even though it’s resource and time management, we have a backend server that allows people to battle each other in real time. It makes the game 100x more interactive and fun.
Supercell jumped out into the “social games with actual gameplay and strategy” market earlier this year and are kicking ass.
Their company is now valued at around $600,000,000 and they are making an estimated $700,000 per DAY. That’s up from $500,000 they confirmed 2 months ago. If they keep it up that’s $22 million a month. Not bad I think it’s safe to say that Social Games with REAL gameplay is the next wave we’ll see a lot of in 2013.
So how did they do it?
Deconstructing Clash of Clans
Well, the first thing I was curious about was where did they get the idea?
Very VERY rarely do these companies just make up the gameplay on their own. Even the indie darling MineCraft was heavily inspired by Infiniminer. If you want a proven game formula, then this is it: Find a gameplay type that people love + tweak to improve it + add in a great theme = profit.
At least minecraft did add lots of enhancements and improvements, unlike many other clones of the past.
What gameplay style did Clash of Clans copy? At first I didn’t know, so I started doing some digging and one particular game name kept popping up:
Galaxy Life was a popular game by Digital Chocolate that came out about a year ago on Facebook. The game did well and received critical praise. I’m not sure exactly where THEY came up with the idea, but I’m sure if we searched around enough something else would pop up The game monetized well enough for them to release it on iOS in June 2012 under the name Galaxy Life Pocket Adventure.
The game did OK on iOS. They topped out at 284 on the iPhone grossing chart. Not amazing, but not too bad.
Before today, I had not heard of this game, so I decided to download it to see how similar it was to Clash of Clans. I’ve played Clash of Clans a few times, but deleted and re-download it as well. That way I could have a fresh look at both games from the beginning and walk through the tutorials.
When I started with the Galaxy Life tutorial I was surprised. It seemed VERY familiar. You start off by having to immediately defend your colony from attackers. After easily beating them, you then fly to another galaxy to attack the same bad guys. Basically it’s like tower defense + a social game. If you have played Clash of Clans, then this is probably ringing a bell.
Sure enough, I open up Clash of Clans and it’s the EXACT same tutorial. I mean, literally the same thing. It moves at a smilar pace, the objects are similar and gameplay is the same. You start off and immediately are being attacked. You have to setup units to defend your colony, then after beating them, you magically fly over to their colony and defeat them.
I was extremely surprised how similar it was. Later in the game things do change some (for the better), but definitely the core gameplay is the same. This was not something that was just invented out of thin air.
It’s brilliant marketing though. Not only did they take great gameplay and make it better, they also chose a much wider and accepted theme. If you look in the top 50 grossing apps you’ll see MUCH more fantasy games than alien games. Fantasy games are really hot right now.
So where did Supercell come up with the idea to heavily build their game off of Galaxy LIfe?
After doing a little digging I saw this on the Supercell site:
(Click to Englarge)
5 out of the 8 founders and executive team are from Digital Chocolate, the makers of Galaxy Life. That’s 62% of the people running the company. So there you have it
I think Supercell is a genius company and I’m not knocking them AT ALL. As you guys know I am a marketer at heart (as well as a gamer) and the way they did this game was brilliant:
- They found gameplay that was exciting and PROVEN.
- They tweaked it by adding more content.
- Then they chose a much wider “theme” that is very prevalent in the App Store.
To me business is the ultimate game and they played it very smart. Bravo to them and I hope they are making it rain in the office daily
P.S. – I haven’t done a live webinar in ages. I have something special lined up about 2 weeks from now that I will be announcing soon. If you aren’t on my list yet, then sign up to check it out
P.P.S. – Oops.. CORRECTION. It’s $750,000 per day! Also someone mentioned in the comments that they were from a different Digital Chocolate studio than the Galaxy Life guys. This could totally be true and I am not insinuating they did anything wrong at all. Again, I think it’s a brilliant marketing move but it’s very apparent where they got the idea from.