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.
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.