On, May 22, 2017, Supercell released their biggest Clash of Clan update since their original release back in August 2, 2012.. 5 Years ago!!
This is a relatively game industry shaping move from Supercell and who else would you expect to make such abrupt moves. The new update is literally Clash of Clans II as players can jump on a boat and travel to entirely new World and build up their new world base from scratch.
Its safe to say this massive update rewards is own new application but Supercell don’t do things the conventional way and lets take a look at the benefits with this move.
Avoid App Cannibalization
Supercell have effectively manage to avoid this by adding a completely new world, calling it an update vs, Clash of Clan II. Players can jump on a boat and travel to a new city.
Usually when the sequel comes out, this will inevitably eat away at your original title and management is left with a choice between which game to back. The usual problems with this approach is that the sequel usually has a better framework, supported with more tools and looks a lot better than the original. But one thing the original has its is loyal customers. Publishers usually attempt to migrate these users to the sequel, but lose a ton of players along the way.
This approach is relatively new since in the past the technology wasn’t there to release a sequel on the original App and Supercell is simply just taking advantage of this tech. Why migrate when you can add to the original.
Maintaining their player base
With games that last over 2 years, 80% of your revenue usually comes from your loyal customers that continue to spend on your game. Loyal is defined as players that have been playing your game since release or for more concrete numbers 1+ years. Providing more content for these players usually becomes priority no 1 in your feature set list. What this means is that for new players, the task to be competitive with these players is proven difficult and this new update effectively creates the illusion that they are on the same playing field as ‘EVERYONE’ as a new city means, everyone is building the new city from ground 0 regardless of your previous city. This update has effectively provided the loyal users a new game play experience they can sink their wallet into, all while acquiring new users to showcase that this update puts everyone ‘kinda’ on the same playing field.
The effectiveness of this approach will be carefully monitored since a lot of companies do have issues in solving this issue. For example, i would never introduce League of Legends to any of my friends at this point in game maturity, as the community is well known to be extremely toxic and the player base is so good that for first time players, the experience just isn’t there unless you have a high tolerance for ‘Rage’, ‘Trolls’ and ‘Salt’ or losing.
Segmenting your player base is a science that every developer is required to perform for each game they have. By identifying these cohorts allows PM’s to forecast their Daily / Monthly / Quarterly Revenue with confidence. Clash of Clans have been in live operations for almost 5 years, we can all assume that they know how players monetize in this game and applying all their missed opportunity with past features and the ones that performed very well and wrapping this up in their new city update is a recipe for success. Looking at the gross ranking, their game has shot straight up to the top 1 grossing worldwide since the update and it’s obvious that this industry changing move have opened the eyes of a lot of developers desperately looking for the next hit since their current is slowly declining (i’m looking at you Gung ho, mixi, Gree). And its not to make the next best thing, but another option is to create a alternative sequel within the same application.
That being said, Supercell isn’t necessarily the first company that added a sequel type update to their game, Social Point’s Dragon City did the same thing but for a different reason. They had memory issues with the amount of Dragons that resided in their players city, forcing them to create a new city where you can breed more Dragons. Don’t know if Clash of Clan had this issue as well but for Social Point this was a blessing in disguise as a engineer issue and solution effectively help generate more for Dragon City and coincidentally this game was released in 2012 as well.
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