Supercell has disclosed its revenue and other financial results for 2022. CEO Ilkka Paananen also outlined the main challenges facing the company, as well as key steps the Clash of Clans developer should take to fulfill its mission of creating innovative live service games.
Key financial results for 2022
- In his latest blog post, Paananen revealed that Supercell’s revenue fell 6% year-over-year to €1.77 billion.
- EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) reached €632 million, down 14% year-over-year. Paananen attributed this decrease to “increased investments in our future.”
- Another factor that affected the company’s financials was the removal of its games from Russia and Belarus. Though a difficult decision, Paananen believes “it was still the right call to make.”
- Clash of Clans crossed the $10 billion milestone in 2022, and Hay Day surpassed $2 billion in lifetime revenue.
What are the main challenges Supercell is facing?
According to Paananen, the company’s biggest goal remains the same — making “forever” games that can be played for years. He noted that to fulfill this mission in today’s climate, “we need to both invent brilliant new games (regularly!) and continuously improve those games for our players (hopefully forever!), making something that already is great even better.”
So this leads to two challenges that should be addressed simultaneously:
- Create more great and innovatie new games (the lack of innovation, according to Paananen, partly affected the mobile industry’s slowdown in 2022);
- Constantly improve successful live service titles (to retain players forever, the operation and support of these games should be a never-ending process).
Paananen believes that creating a great new game is already a huge feat. Supercell has tried different approaches to development, including establishing the so-called “cells” (small independent teams within the company) and trusting developer experience and passion over data.
In its history, Supercell has only launched five hit games but has killed dozens of others. According to Paananen, the number now exceeds 30! Not to mention, the last project to survive to a global launch was Brawl Stars in 2018 (4+ years ago).
“I used to think that creating hit games becomes easier once you’ve “made it” and you have created your first ones. Well, it turns out the opposite is true,” Paananen noted. So the biggest problem for a company like Supercell is to repeat its previous success, meaning it must “try our best to focus not on what used to work in the past but what just might work in the future.”
Speaking of the second challenge, Paananen noted that the company’s live service development teams are always trying to respect the game’s legacy, implement predictable challenges, improve things that already work, and cater to new players.
To find the right balance, they also should:
- Understand what players truly want, not what they say they want;
- Improve the game for all users, including both hardcore users and casual players;
- “See the game as the holistic experience it is” and not as a collection of isolated parts;
- Serve player needs and do routine tasks smarter.
Key steps Supercell must take to achieve its goals
- Supercell plans to attract more ambitious developers and improve its internal engine to create new innovative games. Mobile will remain its main platform, but players can also expect new titles for PC and consoles.
- The company will increase the size of the teams working on every successful live service game, so they always have enough resources “to make it better for existing and future players.”
- There are five new games in development, including Squad Busters, at Supercell’s main office in Helskinki. The company also wants to encourage its other teams to take big risks and invest more in new third-party studios.
- Hybrid and fully-remote work options should help Supercell attract talent from other countries.
- It also wants to make its teams more diverse by hiring younger talent. They will form a “group of people who will be integral part of building the next chapter of Supercell.”
“We need to take bolder and more creative risks in our games,” Paananen concluded. In its next chapter, Supercell plans to release innovative games like Mario, Doom, Call of Duty, Minecraft, Fortnite and The Sims.