You might have heard of a tiny little game called Clash of Clans [Free], a game that has spawned many imitators, has been raking in the dough since its release in 2012, and is currently sitting nicely in second place in the App Store's Top Grossing Games. But how did this game manage to become so popular that everyone uses it as a stand-in phrase for "very popular and very successful mobile game?" Well, Clash of Clans' server programmer, Jonas Collaros, revealed what he sees as the secret behind the game's success. In the most recent Game Developers Conference, Collaros claimed that the secret to Supercell's success is the company's simple principle: the game should be free. That reason alone, always according to Collaros, has enabled gamers to download the game and make it a part of their daily lives.

The developer said that once players bit into the game, they felt the need to check in often so they could help their clan, in that way becoming increasingly engaged and spending more time with the game. By making the game integral to their daily routine, players have stuck with it and, Collaros believes, will be playing it for a long time to come. Supercell has also recently announced that in celebration of the game's third birthday, the company will hold its first ever convention, ClashCon, that aims to unite players from all over the world. The Con will take place October 24, 2015 in Helsinki, Finland, Supercell's base of operation. The company has promised that ClashCon will surprise Clash of Clans players but didn't disclose any more about that.

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I found Collaros assertion that Clash of Clans popularity stems from its free and multiplayer nature quite interesting as it completely avoided any mention of the IAPs that make the game not completely free. He does, after all, describe a light form of addiction when he talks about the way players feel the need to jump into the game constantly. I wonder whether that need Collaros describes becomes a bit more complicated to talk about when combined with the game's timers and IAPs; isn't there more to F2P games like Clash of Clans than just the lack of any barrier to early access? After all, you can enter the game for free, but if you are one of those players Collaros describes, you probably won't be able to keep on playing at the pace he describes without paying some money at some point.

  • markaman

    Then the Canadian devil reveals what is really going on

  • eventide

    What's the highest grossing game or app?

    • Nekko

      Game of War

  • ste86uk

    A very simplistic view of what made it so popular. I keep thinking one day they will make a new game but it hardly ever happens....although they are amazing at updating their games. I played CoC up to max level TH then just got bored....

    • Milotorou

      Im not maxed yet and i still enjoy it a lot lol, to me clash is f2p done right.

      Spent 10$ since i started, im now th8 and never felt the need to spend a penny more.

      • blackhawkn11

        Th9 and no money in it. You don't need to pay to enjoy this game.

  • rewind

    Minor error, but it's actually the game's third birthday, Also, I think what Collaros means is that it needs to be free to allow anyone and everyone to download it without paying something upfront. A game can't consistently make a millions of dollars a day if it isn't free-to-play (as the top grossing charts prove). And, well, I am a fan of this system. The game couldn't possibly work any other way without being completely redesigned. Additionally, I've spent a few dollars but two of the people in my clan have level 10 town halls (the highest level) without spending a dime. There is no "paywall" anywhere, it's very easy to enjoy the full game for free. As for ClashCon, well, I'm sure they're going to announce something huge. Should be some fun times ahead!

    • Juroku

      Not every f2p game has to be pay2win

    • ezez33

      rewind: its true there ain't real paywall, but what happens is this: when you are high enough on upgrades, it takes many days to collect money / elixir for any upgrades, and when you get attacked, good amount of money is lost, and shield only lasts so long... then, you end up in upgrade plateau, and it seems like only alternative is to harvest trees and tree stumps until you have 250 gems for 7 day shield.... only then its relatively easy to upgrade one or two buildings, not more. Then wait for another month... repeat....

      only by "hacking" the game, de-leveling, it's possible to get attacks from lower tier players... even then you gain very little by waiting, that's how they have tuned the mechanics to urge players to pay, even though they made the correct choice of not telling it to player all the time... like less successful games do.

      Attacking others to gain resources is not very good strategy, building efficient army takes hour unless you pay up... no way around it. What you gain quite little as it exposes you to counter attack i.e. revenge.... so if you are not into waiting... it ain't much fun. note - I'm too lazy for proper tactical attacks I guess 😉

      It really depends on what part of the game you like, if it's worth your time, but definitely there's ton of waiting if you don't pay and you won't be playing on very high level at all I think.

      There's chat and clan wars which might make the game more value if you are into, well, clashing and clans :) but personally I'm not into it, as it won't help you up your village that much faster if at all.

      IMO the game is more value for those who enjoy community and common efforts, but it gets very boring and annoying if you are only into building and upgrading...

      I personally never paid and never will that's for sure, just playing the game as sort of research... th10, lv96. Will stop playing it soon though.

      • flashbackflip

        When you are done with CoC research - try Samurai Siege.
        I dug this whole genre starting from Travian and i found SS THE most innovative in terms of gameplay and handling 'group dynamics'. It got me hooked as soon as i joined decent clan. Then i quit hardcore path and now just watching evolving process of the game.

  • Kita

    This game will never have a sequel. That would upset the thousands (millions?) of people who invested in 100-1000s of dollars in this app.

    • flashbackflip

      50 millions downloads. With average 10% conversion rate that should make at least 5.000.000 who invested in IAP 😉

  • flashbackflip

    Hyped article name and so generic content... Am i reading Buzzfeed"