Supercell remains a profitable company, but its EBITDA fell by 21% last year. Ilkka Paananen, CEO of the company, acknowledged the problem of supporting games as services, spoke about the results of the launch of Brawl Stars in China and possible corporate changes.Paananen’s comments appeared in the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.
Financial performance and problems with Clash RoyaleIn 2020, Supercell earned €1.29 billion (7% less in annual terms), and its EBITDA was €407 million (a drop of 21% in annual terms).
Despite the fact that the company did not release any new games last year, it still remains extremely profitable. The EBITDA to revenue ratio was 31%.
According to Sensor Tower, Supercell earned the most last year on Clash of Clans — the game accounted for 41% of revenue. Brawl Stars is in second place (32% of revenue), and Clash Royale is in third (17%).
The main problem was the lack of new content to support the company’s existing hits. Unlike competitors, Supercell almost did not release updates and did not hold regular events.
It's no secret that we are dissatisfied with last year's Clash Royal results. We haven't been able to add things to the game that would make it better for the players. The team worked hard and released one major update, but it was not received as well as we had hoped.
CEO of Supercell
Paananen admits that the main goal for 2021 for the company is to improve Clash Royale based on user feedback. In particular, Supercell plans to hire a new lead for the project, who would bring new expertise and experience to the team.
Also last year, Supercell closed Hay Day Pop, despite the fact that the project earned $1 million during the softlonch. “It was one of the best games we ‘killed’. Unfortunately, she was not able to gain a sufficient audience,” says Paananen.
Entering the Chinese marketLast summer, Supercell released Brawl Stars in China.
Initially, the launch of the project was successful, but just a few months later its performance began to decline.
CEO of Supercell
The real challenge for Supercell was the size of the team. Only 30 people worked on Brawl Stars, while many Chinese gaming companies employ hundreds of employees at the same time.
Working with the community and possible expansion of the companyCurrently, 340 people work at Supercell who cannot maintain the company’s successful games at the proper level.
That is why developers began to introduce new content into projects with the help of the community.
A good example was the beta version of Map Maker, a special toolkit for creating maps for Brawl Stars. According to Paananen, players have already made more than 150 million new levels for the game.
The Supercell Make campaign serves the same purpose, in which users can create new skins for Supercell game characters. “We choose the best skins and give part of the proceeds to the creators. Thousands of talented artists from all over the world have already participated in the program,” Paananen notes.
The expansion of the staff remains one of the main issues for Supercell. The company has learned how to create successful games by relatively small teams, however, much more specialists are needed to service game services.
Paananen understands this, but notes that Supercell will not radically change its structure and corporate principles. “Our culture is the pillar on which our company is built, so we should not make hasty changes. However, we openly discussed this issue and questioned many things,” explains the CEO of the company.