5 Takes on the Hot New Game: Clash Royale

Becky Doles

Image of Clash Royale game

It didn’t take long at all for Supercell’s new mobile game, Clash Royale, to become a mega hit. The company that developed Clash of Clans soft-launched its new game earlier in the year, progressing to a full global launch in March.

So far, there’s been every indication that Supercell has a big winner on its hands. The card-based, head-to-head battle, real-time strategy game is now the top-grossing app in the App Store, and fast-approaching 70,000 reviews. The company made $924 million in profits on just three games in 2015, and has famously killed multiple games that just did not live up to its standards — which, admittedly, are pretty high. Clearly Supercell thinks that Clash Royale has the potential to be another cash cow.

If you aren’t already playing Clash Royale, this quick video gives you a taste of what the fuss — and fun — is all about. But you probably are already playing, and so are we.

A fanatical mob of Clash players and fans quickly formed here at TUNE. So I asked our in-house gamers to share their thoughts on what makes Clash Royale so smart, popular, and fun to play. Here’s what they said (you can weigh in by dropping a comment below!).

Matt on Clash Royale by SupercellMatt Tronvig, Marketing Developer

If you deal enough hands in poker, eventually you’ll see a royal flush. Supercell did just that with Clash Royale. The six-year-old mobile game developer company name comes from the structure the company uses to develop their games: small teams work simultaneously on separate games, each “cell’s” game is iterated upon quickly and if it’s apparent the finished product won’t result in a royal flush, the game is scrapped and the team moves on to a new concept.

The criteria a game must meet to make it is simple; it must be a game that people will play for years, it needs to be easy to learn and complex enough to not become boring, and it needs to appeal to millions to generate the virality and social appeal to become a mass-market phenomenon.

Clash Royale matches those criteria perfectly. Unlike Clash of Clans, Supercell was able to stack the deck on this one. The gameplay in Royale combines a unique mix of Tower Defense, CCG (Collectible Card Game), MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena), and RTS (Real-Time Strategy) carefully blended together with sharp social and re-engagement hooks that keep you coming back day after day.

Josh on Clash Royale by SupercellJosh Todd, Product Manager

Clash Royale is a truly brilliant game that proves Supercell is still the best in the business when it comes to mobile games. The simple fact that they were able to do synchronous multiplayer at scale on a mobile device makes the game both a technical and conceptual success. This was considered impossible or impractical by many game developers until now.

Another important factor is the way they’ve catered to the eSports crowd by including a built-in channel for viewing the pros at play: TV Royale. This is a huge motivator for the hardcore players who want to appear on TV Royale, as well as an excellent training tool for more casual players looking to improve their skills.

Finally, they’ve created something truly unique here by combining elements of two very popular genres: collectible card games (such as Hearthstone) and MOBAs (such as Vainglory or League of Legends). I would even venture to say that this is the first truly successful MOBA for mobile, even if it is a departure from the genre’s roots.

Time on Clash Royale by SupercellTim O’Neil, Global Head of Mobile Gaming

Supercell keeps setting the bar higher and higher for mobile games in terms of playability, core mechanics, and fun. They’ve been able to successfully integrate over a handful of different game genres into a single title, and they’ve done so without sacrificing the quality that the industry and players alike have come to expect from their brand.

Jonahkai on Clash Royale by SupercellJonahkai Hancock, Director of Marketing

Clash Royale is a deck-building and tower defense hybrid that pits you against players all over the world. Each player battles for crowns, trophies and chests which can be used to upgrade player cards. The cards chosen during play have a cost to cast, and as players progress through the game the goal is to build your “deck” of cards.

Here’s what else makes this great:

  1. Supercell’s first real-time multiplayer app
    They figured out how to allow people to play others across the world in real-time, no easy feat given disparate download speeds, carriers, etc across the world!
  2. There’s a gateway drug
    Supercell used Clash of Clans as the natural path for users to progress through. They are using their existing Clash of Clans intellectual property and applying it to a completely different type of game.
  3. They are capitalizing on cross promotion
    Clash of Clans customers get ads for Clash Royale and vice versa. I am a huge fan of Clash of Clans and when Clash Royale came out I was instantly addicted because of the familiarity. I have never played any card dealing games, like dungeon and dragons, but Supercell has made it easy enough for me to dive in head first.
  4. Supercell made monetization much simpler
    In Clash of Clans, upgrades can take days or even weeks. In Clash Royale, players are given chests which are opened every 3-8 hours, making the game even more addicting. This is where Supercell completely kills it. Because the matches are so short, and players can amass and store chests in multiple ways, it is incredibly easy to gain momentum. When a player reaches the point where they are tired of waiting for chests to open (every three hours), there are two options: suck it up and wait for chests to pop… or spend money on gems for instant gratification!

Andy on Clash Royale by SupercellAndy Chen, Support Engineer

This game has a intuitive tutorial that helps you learn the mechanics of playing quickly. Prepare to die a lot and lose a lot. However, you learn your playing style after putting in a few hours playing.

Quick note: It is insanely addicting, which can be attributed to the true PVP nature of the game (actually playing against live players every time).

A final word

We obviously love the first real-time, head-to-head battle game. Between it being addictive, solidly revenue-generating, and a supporting cross-promotion strategy from Clash of Clans, we expect the success to only grow from here.

You’ll work out some things quickly enough, like learning that nothing distracts the giant from smashing buildings except other buildings. But building good counters for some cards will take you a bit longer. You’ll be on your way to fanaticism in no time.

If you are an app marketer who is interested in snagging some tips from the pros who market successful mobile games, check out this Innervate case study or join us for an upcoming webinar,”Game On: Pro Tips for Conquering Gaming App Marketing” on April 19.

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Becky Doles

Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.

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