分析者从不同的角度谈Clash of Clans的机制设计
分析者从不同的角度谈Clash of Clans的机制设计
篇目1，分析《Clash of Clans》盈利机制的特点及优势
然而，在过6个月中，《Clash of Clans》却让我真正明白免费增值模式究竟如何真正与游戏设计融为一体。
《Clash of Clans》从许多方面来说都是佳作，我认为只有真正死硬的F2P仇视者才会觉得这款游戏一无是处。
我太喜欢这款游戏了，以至于在其中逗留了6个月，它也成了为唯一为其掏钱的F2P游戏——至今花了2.99英磅，相当于我买过的最贵的付费手机游戏价格，而我玩《Clash of Clans》的时间却远超过那款付费游戏。
在我之前玩过的F2P游戏中，付费货币选项通常以极为数字化的方式呈现——付费，或者不付费。相反，《Clash of Clans》却使用了那种并不模拟化的付费货币（宝石）。
Supercell的总部就坐落在前诺基亚研究大楼里，这座建筑本身就象征着一个教训。这家芬兰公司因《Clash of Clans》和《Hay Day》这两款手机游戏的成功而迎来辉煌。它把公 司的51%股份以15.3亿美元的价格出售给日本的软银和GungHo Entertainment。这样，Supercell的市值就达到约30亿美元，超过另一家雇员人数达2200人的社交游戏巨头公司Zynga
但是Supercell的首席执行官表示，虽然该公司做了这一交易，但这并不意味着他们不再创造游戏，他们是为了确保拥有足够的稳定性，如此才能为今后在娱乐业务中的探索打好基 础。他认为自己的工作是寻找最出色的人去创造最出色的游戏，并为他们提供最棒的工作环境。他们在6人一组的团队中工作。他们致力于游戏中，清除所有糟糕的理念，并测试最 有发展前景的理念。通过这么做，Paananen希望Supercell能够像迪士尼和任天堂那样，并且在这个有超过12亿人口在玩游戏的环境中对游戏业务带来持久且重要的影响。
Ilkka Paananen：到现在我们还保持着属于自己独特的文化。我们已经将其融入到这些小型且独立的团队中，也就是我们所谓的“细胞”。这也是“Supercell”这个名字的由来。 我们认为有关游戏的决策制定权利应该下放到玩家手上。因此，独立开发者应该能够决定与自己的工作以及任何可能影响玩家的内容有关的决定。如果你这么做，你便能够优化速 度，并在致力于同一款游戏中的团队成员间创造一种归属感。
如你所知，在游戏产业中，公司经常会经历一个许可过程。我们却没有，因为我们并不需要。在Supercell，两个实体进行着把关。一个便是团队本身。在开发过程中，唯一一个能 够推翻制作的便是团队自己。甚至连我都不能这么做。当一个团队将其游戏推向测试市场时，这一权利便从团队手上转向玩家。这时候，他们将变成以参数或数据为中心。为了实 现全球发行，他们拥有游戏必须到达的一定参数。
简单地来说，在Supercell，两个实体拥有控制权。在开发过程中是团队，而在开发结束后，也就是在测试过程中则是玩家。这真的很简单。所有的一切都是由此展开。我们已经尝 试着创造一个零官僚主义的环境。这里只有真正有天赋的人。我们只有极少数管理者的角色。我们的主要目标只是为了创造环境，然后保持这种方式，让人们可以真正专注于他们 的工作。
此外，我们也会去庆祝任何一次的失败。这并不是因为我们想要假装失败是有趣的。当我们需要终止一款游戏的制作时—-想象一个由5，6个人组成的团队连续好几个月夜以继日地 致力于这款游戏中。也许游戏并未成功。也许出现了一个糟糕的焦点小组结果。也许团队进行了测试但是用户却并不喜欢游戏。当然，在这种情况下当我们想要终止一款游戏便是 因为它并不有趣。但我们认为值得庆祝的理由在于，我们可以从失败中吸取教训。当我们不得不终止一款游戏时，我们总是会为此举办一场聚会。游戏负责团队会走上台与我们分 享哪些东西做得好，哪些做得不好，以及他们从中学到了什么。然后我们便会递给他们一瓶香槟去庆祝他们的收获。
实际上，作为一家公司，比起成功，我们经历过更多失败。去年我们便至少终止了5款游戏。最终我们只发行了2款游戏。我们将许多游戏带到测试阶段，但是许多游戏却并未如我 们期待的那样顺利。这便是商业的本性。但是我们相信如果你不主动冒险，你便不可能创造出真正受欢迎的游戏。如果你想要做一些富有创造性的尝试，你就必须承担风险。承担 风险的自然结果当然有可能面临失败。但这也是推动一家公司继续向前发展的关键。
Paananen：我们的任务是成为第一间实至名归的全球性游戏公司。对于我们来说，真正的全球性游戏公司便是同时在广阔的西方市场（包括北美和欧洲）和每个大型东方市场（包 括日本，韩国和中国）拥有一款热门游戏。我们的目标是创造能够联合世界各地玩家的游戏。尽管离这一目标我们还有很长的一段路要走，但是至少我们已经收获了一些可喜的结 果。
我们面向iOS平台发行了两款游戏。《Clash of Clans》已经成为了139个国家的iPad畅销游戏排行榜上的冠军。《Hay Day》也在102个国家中取得了同样的结果。对于《Clash of Clans》，我们在年初将其带到了日本市场。人们都觉得我们疯了。因为他们认为日本是西方游戏公司的巨大坟场。但是我们认为必须试看看。并且对于结果我们也感到非常满意。 《Clash of Clans》在这里取得的最好成绩是iPhone畅销游戏榜单中的第3位，并且直到现在仍停留在第5位或第6位。最近我们将它带到了Android平台，并进入了排行榜的前10名 —-《Hay Day》也是如此。
人们会问我，秘诀是什么？我想可能是因为我们认为这些游戏都是与众不同的吧。许多公司都是基于“即发即弃”模式推出游戏。推出游戏，它不断发展，然而在几个月后它便会 迅速衰败。我们的游戏已经在排行榜前列维持了1年多的时间。《Hay Day》是在去年6月面向全世界发行，从那时起它就一直待在前5名内。《Clash of Clans》是在去年8月发行， 而现在它仍是美国排名第2的游戏，仅次于《Candy Crush》。它们都有很强的持久力。
为什么呢？第一个原因便是当我们创建公司时，我们最初的目标便是创造人们愿意玩好几年的游戏，而不只是几周或几个月便舍弃的游戏。Supercell中许多富有创造性的人都曾是 MMO游戏的开发者或用户。我们玩过许多像《魔兽世界》或《英雄联盟》这样的游戏。这类型游戏都具有很长的保质期。我们的梦想便是创造出像那样的游戏，但却是面向大众市场 和手机平台。当然这是我们在早期时候的想法，但很庆幸我们能够拥有这样的结果。
另外一件让我们兴奋的事便是最近面向Android发行了《Clash of Clans》。有两件事带给我们很大的鼓励。一件是来自玩家的反应。我们获得了超过25万的评论，以及4.7的星级 。这表示用户真的在接纳我们的游戏。同时我们在2周时间里便进入了前10的排行榜单，不管是在美国还是日本。上次浏览时发现，我们在美国Android畅销游戏榜单中的排名是第3 ，而在日本是第6。在不久后《Hay Day》将紧随其后。
接下来我将说说我们近来与Softbank 和Gung Ho的交易。从根本上看，之所以会出现这笔交易是因为我们在芬兰建立了这家具有特殊目的的公司。该公司是Softbank和Gung Ho共同 所有的，前者拥有80%的股份，后者是20%。该公司拥有Supercell51%的股份。我和Mikko Kodisoja（游戏邦注：Supercell的创始人之一）都是公司的董事会成员。所以这与传统的 收购并不相同。这更像是来自合作伙伴的支持，一种策略性投资。就像你所了解的，他们已经为这些股份的获得支付了大约15亿美元，并将我们公司估值30亿美元。
Paananen：主要有四个原因。最重要的原因是，我们认为现在仍是这一公司的发展初期。我们喜欢自己所做的事，并希望Supercell能够继续作为一家独立公司运行下去。而这一协 议能够保证公司的独立，这点非常重要。关于这一份协议中一个很大的部分便是公司的创始人对于业务仍具有表决控制权以及决策权。可以说签订了这份协议后的我们比之前更加 独立，因为创始人对于我们想要做的事有实际的控制权。我们将继续完全第独立运行。所有有关策略，产品，规划图，平台，市场营销等内容都处于创始人的完全掌控中。这是协 议所明确规定的。
这也将我带到了第二个原因。在签订协议前，以及在与Softbank的创始人见面前—-投资界的人在说到“长期”时往往意味着5至10年的期限。而当你接触了Softbank的创始人 Masayoshi Son时，你会发现在他眼中的长期期限是30年计划以及300年的愿景。他与我之前遇到的其它商业主管（特别是来自西方国家的商业主管）都不同。如果你将他们的模式 与传统的风险资本家进行比较，你会发现这些人可能永远将Supercell的股份握在手中，只要他们愿意这么做的话，这便是他们所追求的目标。
第三个原因便是，我之前曾说过我们想要成为一家名副其实的全球性游戏公司。显然Softbank能够帮助我们更快第朝着这一目标前进。他们在日本拥有很强大的占有率，并与中国 和韩国市场也维持着很好的关系。他们最近收购了美国的Sprint，在全球范围内更加活跃了。这也不是一种短期发展。在中期到长期的过程中，我们相信让他们担任股东将是一种 有益的决定。
第四个原因是，我们与Son都认为生活和商业生活并不是一种零和游戏。我们都认为自己拥有同样的意识形态，所以公司所创造的所有经济价值也是由所有参与人员所享有的，包括 所有雇员。Supercell便证实了这点。而这一协议也是另外一个案例。对于我们来说，所有人共享公司真的非常重要。不管你是一个参与者还是创始人或者只是一名普通雇员，这种 条款都是一样的。再向前发展的话我们将进行股利分配。这是Supercell文化的一大重要组成部分，我们也很高兴Softbank也具有许多相同的看法。
Paananen：我们相信自己处在一个全新的游戏时代。这与一些内容相关。其中一点是游戏作为一种大众市场现象将朝着手机和平板电脑走去。下一代的主机将找到一个新的落脚点 ，并且再一次的它也不会是一款零和游戏—因为即使手机表现得很好也不意味着主机就表现得很糟糕。但是我们相信这一设备是大众市场娱乐消费的超级设备。我们认为当提到大 众市场的消费者时，免费游戏模式便是赢家。我们相信这些游戏正变成一种服务。这不只是关于发行了某些内容并转向下一个新内容。当你发行了游戏时，你的工作才算真正开始 。我们相信自己能够创造出足以持续好几年的游戏服务。我们也相信自己可以创造出真正具有世界吸引力的游戏。
这是我们所相信的有可能改变这一产业的驱动力。为了支持这些改变，我们认为必须创造一家全新类型的游戏公司。我们的目标是创造一家深受雇员喜欢，并受到玩家长达好几十 年追捧的公司。也就是我们希望即使20年，40年或者50年过去了，你也仍会想起Supercell。到了那时候，Supercell的存在才真正具有意义。想想任天堂。我们很难找到有人不喜 欢他们所创造的角色，品牌和游戏。而我希望在30或40年后Supercell也能做到这点。
我们想要成为游戏历史的组成部分，即创造一家足以改变我们对游戏看法的公司。但这显然需要花费一定的时间。这不是1年，5年甚至是10年内就能做到的。这也是我们想要签订 这一协议的最大原因。我们希望找到一个可以与我们分享同样愿景的合作伙伴，更重要的是，他们有足够的耐心能够等到那天的到来。如果你想要尝试着做类似这样的事，那么你 需要的最重要的资产便是时间。
Paananen：这也是我与许多其它公司拥有不同想法的地方。我们面对着许多这样的问题。人们会问我或其他人：“为什么你们会在清晨早早起床？你们已经不需要在为了赚钱而工 作了啊。”我的答案始终是，我从来不是为了赚钱而工作。这听起来可能很奇怪。因为我们已经取得了成功，所有人都想要谈论我们昨天赚到了多少收益。这本身就是一个主题 —-Supercell的每日收益是多少？这对我们来说很尴尬，因为我们创造这些游戏并不是为了赚钱。我们只是对制作游戏充满热情罢了。我们只是想要创造有趣且优秀的游戏。
所以对此我的答案便是，因为我从未想过以创造游戏去赚钱，所以我不认为事情会因此发生改变。同时，我们想要在Supercell中创造最好的环境去制作游戏。这是我们作为公司的 第一个目标。这也是我们公司的创建理念。为什么人们会想要去创建自己的公司呢？如果在某些时候我们未能呈现出最适当的游戏制作环境，他们便会选择离开而创建自己的公司 。但就像我所说的，这是我们所思考的一大部分内容。我们想要为最优秀的人呈现最舒适的工作环境。
Paananen：这归根究底就是我们如何设计一跨优秀游戏的原理。就像我所说的，我们的目标是设计出人们愿意玩好几年的游戏。我们的游戏已经做到了这点，就像《Hay Day》便在 排行榜前列维持了18个月。我们还未看到任何下降的痕迹。但再一次，我们必须清楚这是游戏产业。我们很难在此预测未来。我们也谦逊地意识到这种情况也会出现在自己身上。 我们尝试着去专注的唯一一件事便是确保在每一周这些游戏能够变得更好，更适合玩家，即不断发行更新内容和新内容，并听取玩家的反馈。我们尽所能地做好这些事。这也是我 们唯一能够做到的。
但我认为像我们的游戏这样的游戏是属于新游戏文化的组成部分。游戏几乎成为我们日常生活的一部分了。我们的许多《Hay Day》玩家便表示自己会在每天吃早饭和睡觉前检查农 场的状况。这些游戏成为了他们日常生活众多一部分。平均我们的每个玩家一天会玩9次游戏（即包含这两款游戏）。这是一个平均值。更活跃的玩家一天会玩10次。这些游戏就像 Facebook一样，即你每天都会检查多次的一种服务。只要你能够将这些游戏真正融入玩家的生活中，它们便能长久地存在着。
让人们愿意回到这些游戏的另外一个元素便是游戏的社交属性。《Clash of Clans》便在这方面表现突出。人们愿意回头玩这款游戏的一大原因便不是因为游戏本身。而是因为他 们在游戏中遇到的其他人。这听起来可能很奇怪，但的确是别人吸引你回到游戏中。
问题：以《Clash of Clans》为例，你们平均中每个玩家身上获取多少利益？
Paananen：我们并未真正公开这种收益KPI。就像我之前所提到的，对于我们以及其它免费游戏来说，大多数玩家都是非付费玩家。只有少部分玩家愿意为游戏掏钱。这是一种很棒 的模式，因为只要我们做得合理，这对于所有人来说都是双赢的。那些不想花钱的人可以不必花钱，并且可以免费玩高质量的游戏。当然，那些愿意花钱的玩家也可以选择想要支 付多少费用。如果执行得当，我想免费游戏便是一种制胜模式—-不管是从开发者角度来看还是从消费者角度来看。
Paananen：这是人们所建议的。我们很愚蠢地开始为本土市场改变游戏。但是不管如何改变，他们都不如本土的游戏出色。所以我们开始思考其它方法。除了本土化游戏，我们不 再改变任何内容。这便是我们的游戏，是游戏的灵魂定义了它们。如果你开始改变游戏的灵魂，它便不可能成为任何人的选择。所以我们保持游戏不变，只是对其进行本土化。这 就是我们所遵循的方法，也符合我们想要成为一家名副其实的全球性游戏公司的愿景。
Paananen（以下简称P）：（笑）当它准备好的时候。在Supercell，开发团队有控制权。我们一直坚守的一条原则是：尽早测试游戏是合理的。你可能已经知道我们现在正在加拿 大的应用商店测试游戏《Boom Beach》。我们的模式是管用的，正如我所说的，先由团队做决定，再于由玩家做决定。对于《Boom Beach》，如果玩家喜欢它，我们就全球发行； 否则我们就放弃它。就这么简单。我们公司还有其他团队在做其他游戏，也采用了相同的原则。那些团队也快有一些东西要测试了。如果可行，那就太好了。他们就会把产品正式 发布；如果测试结果不好，那就放弃然后转向下一个产品。
P：我想我可以自称是连续创业者吧。2000年时我和我的朋友一起创办了我们的第一家游戏公司Sumea。2004年，雇员达到40人时我们把公司卖给了Digital Chocolate，我于2010年 时离开公司。我休息了几个月后很幸运地成为后来的Supercell的创始人之一。
我的另一个教训是，尽量减少官僚主义。许多公司都有游戏审核会，也就是让团队把他们的游戏摆在委员会面前，然后由委员会反馈意见。这是很费时间的活儿。这可能导致恶梦 般的情况——团队游说委员会和准备游说的时间比做游戏还多。而在Supercell是不会发生这种事的。那就是为什么甚至连我都不能叫停一款游戏。我的目标之一是，我要把自己变 成世界上最没权力的CEO。我对自己以及管理层的定位是促成者，其作用是保证最优秀的人才能专注于他们的工作。我们努力为他们创造最好的环境。
游戏是一个看重人才的行业，人是关键。这是我学习到的最重要的一课。第二个重要的教训是保持“小”的价值。与我们的许多竞争者相比，我们仍然是一家非常小的公司，并且 我们希望继续保持“小”。在小公司工作更有趣得多。当工作成为一件有趣的事时，你做出来的游戏就会更有趣。就是这么简单的道理。“小”的附加优势是，当公司很小时，你 就不需要管理层、官僚主义和走程序这类人人都讨厌的东西。
P：《Clash of Clans》的开发团队一开始是5个人。我们尽量保持团队小——大约5到7、8人吧。至于运营团队，因为我们每天服务于百万玩家，所以人数要多一些，但规模仍然控 制在约10到15人之间。
P：是的，非常好。现在这里有非常适合小公司的生态系统。在芬兰，创立公司是很容易的。我们的企业税率非常有竞争力。从明年起，这个税率应该只有20%，是欧洲最低的税率 之一了。从这一方面来说，芬兰的经济环境是非常有竞争力的，很容易吸引国外的创业者到这里来。另外，这里的官僚主义氛围很淡，治安好，非常适合居住。我们还有世界上最 好的教育体系。在过去几年，芬兰在这些方面一直是榜样。总之，优势非常多。
我们有一个很大的优势是，政府提供财政支持。Supercell就是这么成立起来的：我们6个人组成团队，投了几千欧元创立了公司；然后我们向政府贷了大约40万欧元。如果没有这 笔钱，Supercell可能不会存在了。政府给创业者提供这些贷款。即使你失败了，你个人也不会破产。这是一种非常好的模式。除了这些贷款，你还可以得到补助金。这一路走来我 们已经拿了几百万的补助金了，这些钱帮助很大。在芬兰还很容易从国外融资。大风投公司如Accel、Index和Atomico等等都有投资芬兰的公司。
P：我希望在这整个游戏行业中，更多的力量回归到创意人才手中。我玩过老LucasArts工作室的游戏和《模拟城市》，那都是好游戏，但都不是大团队开发的。那些游戏受硬盘空 间等条件的限制，所以更专注于玩法，毕竟不可能靠图像吸引玩家。那些游戏就是有趣，正是当时的创意天才们留下的宝贵遗产。我希望游戏行业回到那个游戏的黄金时代—-充满 创意能量和热情的小团队具有更多的控制权。
游戏行业一直以从业人员过度劳累而招徕骂名。加班几乎是惯例。有些团队一整年都在加班赶进度。首先，这本来就是错误的。它是扼杀生命。但从商业的角度看，我也不认为是 合理的。谁能够全年每天工作18个小时还保持高效率的？在这种情况下，你不可能有什么效率和创造力的。这对公司来说也不划算。我们坚持正常的工作日。但当我们工作时，我 们就要非常努力非常专注地工作。
P：我们最大的共通之处是，我们对游戏的整体看法。GungHo的人可是运营着这个星球上最赚钱的游戏——《Puzzle & Dragons》。然而，你几乎听不到他们谈论赢利的事。他们认 为游戏就应该有趣，如果你做的游戏有趣，你就能赚钱。这就是他们的理念。据我所知，他们也非常尊重创意人才。
P：我不是诺基亚的分析师，但它显然是有一些失误的。说其他什么话都是说谎。他们没有抓住一些相当重要的趋势。那些后来者消灭了诺基亚。所以，我认为确实是有失误。但那 也是商业生命的一部分。听起来有些可笑，但我认为它会好起来的——特别是与微软的最近合作，我想它会好好努力的。正如我所说的，它迫使这个国家改造自己。我们可以放下 过去，继续做一些新的东西。
P：也许吧，但我也不肯定，因为除了游戏，我在其他行业都没有经验。给建议是危险的，特别是如果你曾经成功过的话。（笑）成功竟然会改变人们对你的看法，真有意思。两年 以前我在游戏开发者大会上说过同样的事。当时大约有30个人在听我的演讲，其中有约25个人是我叫得出名字的。（笑）没有人是真的对我说的东西感兴趣。然而我现在仍然讲相 同的故事相同的文化相同的价值观，却人人爱听。唯一的不同就是，现在我们成功了，而那时我们还没有成功。
篇目3，分析《Clash of Clans》的游戏盈利设计
你一旦开始就无法收手了。这就是《Clash of Clans》。这款游戏初次发布之后，在教程中间序列就展开了Goblins攻击，你就会深深陷入其中，无法回头了。
你首次启动《Clash of Clans》，可能很会连续不间断地玩上数个小时。游戏极具成瘾性和粘性因素。你会一直重返游戏。让我们分析一下其中的原因吧。
设计精良的核心循环会奖励玩家的积极行为，并推动玩家每次游戏的进程。《Clash of Clans》核心循环由三个不同的操作组成：
据Supercell的Ilkka Paananen所述，Supercell追踪的关键指标是第1天、第7天和第30天的留存率。Supercell成员Lasse Louhento曾透露，公司将《Clash of Clans》玩家划分为三个阶段：新手、中级和精英群体。每个群体都有不同的游戏体验方式，留存率也不尽相同。
《Clash of Clans》中几乎所有的细节都是针对盈利而设计（游戏邦注：例如常规的军队训练和建设你的村庄）。你总是有需要花钱的地方。这里的盈利方式取决于你加速游戏进程的需求。你玩得越多，就越需要花时间获得成就。或者通过花钱走捷径来加速游戏进程。
在游戏最开始，你有相当数量的免费宝石（游戏内置货币，可用真钱购买）。在数个小时后，你就会用光这些免费宝石，因为你已经将所有宝石用于购买黄金和万能药（这是游戏中的两种软货币，可用宝石购买）。此时你对于宝石的心理概念已经成型了。黄金和万能药是廉价的，你得用宝石来购买这些东西。现在你必须获得更多宝石，你可以通过游戏中的“商店”购买这些东西。你购买首批宝石所需投入的真钱门槛很低。《Clash of Clans》优化了用真钱执行首次交易的操作。
游戏玩法的竞争层面是一个盈利环节。有些玩家想比别人投入更多钱来发挥更出色的表现。《Clash of Clans》排名前列的玩家之一Jorge Yao就曾在游戏中投入3000美元，以便维持6个月稳居《Clash of Clans》玩家榜单之首的状态。
《纽约时报》曾报道Jorge Yao这名玩家花钱稳定自己在这款游戏中6个月的排名。他成了一个虚拟名人，也因此成为一个社交媒体明星，获得了超过3万个Facebook点赞，将近10的Twitter粉丝，其Youtube采访视频观看次数超过40万。这怎么可能呢？《Clash of Clans》中的一名玩家怎么就上升成了社交媒体明星呢？
《Clash of Clans》其中含有多个社交层面：首先，游戏通常会引导玩家创造自己的部落同好友玩游戏，并为自己的部落吸收新成员。部落成员通过发送增援部队而相互帮助。你可以用苹果ID通过Game Center或者使用Facebook帐号挑战好友。你的Game Center好友会在你登录该平台时现身。
第三，排名列表（顶级部落、顶级玩家）支持用户浏览顶级玩家资料，访问他们的村庄（想象一下你可以在其中访问任何村庄以及查看排名第一的玩家所在的村庄，这种感觉棒极了！）以及部落资料。你可以搜索到任何部落。部落拥有两种不同类型：仅受邀请可入，以及任何人都可加入的类型。这一切都在鼓励玩家一起玩游戏。不要忘了Louhento提到将玩家划分成三个群体的情况。有一个群体被称为精英群体。这也正是Jorge Yao人气如此之高的原因。他是某个被称为North 44这个仅受邀请可入的精英群体成员。任何人都可以在顶级玩家列表上浏览他的资料，查看他的村庄。
这款游戏的社交层面似乎极为奏效，《Clash of Clans》的Facebook月活跃用户（MAU）从2013年第一季度的100万增长至2014年第二季度的730万。所有的Supercell游戏（游戏邦注：包括《Clash of Clans》、《Hay Day》和《Boom Beach》）截止2014年2月7日，日活跃用户共达294万。
篇目4，分析《Clash of Clans》设计的改进空间
这里我可以看到一个模式，首先是Supercell的首款游戏《Hay Day》成为iPhone和iPad的最佳农场游戏，现在轮到《Clash of Clans》成为iOS平台的最佳策略游戏之首。
《Clash of Clans》之所以成为一款出色的游戏，是因为Supercell的游戏开发制胜法则在发挥作用。首先该作发掘的是既有的社交游戏主题，然后针对该题材游戏中的最佳之作进行反向工程，以便创造强大而自然的核心循环。你可以围绕这一可靠的核心循环创造了一款游戏，对游戏玩法进行优化和调整，并用炫目的图像装点外观。最后通过仅针对加拿大市场的测试将游戏优化到尽善尽美，一旦优化完毕，游戏中的KPI看似可靠之时，便是游戏重磅出击并横扫热门排行榜的时候。
但即使《Clash of Clans》已经是该类题材中最出色的游戏，它也仍然存在一些不尽完美之处。虽然游戏已经过高度优化和润色，但它在一些关键游戏玩法机制、病毒传播性以及盈利功能上仍然存在改进空间。
《Clash of Clans》的核心循环有三个主要部分：搜集资源、建设&训练，以及战斗。但并非所有的环节都同样重要，因为每个环节的重要性要取决于玩家在游戏中的持续目标，这就会产生不同的玩法风格（游戏邦注：比如有些人喜好搜集资源，有些玩家热衷于搞建设，有些则是好战分子）。
Coins和Elixir是《Clash of Clans》中的两种软货币。为了产生Elixir和Coins，玩家只需拥有Elixir搜集器和金矿便可。自动产生资源意味着玩家无需启动资源生产，也不需要等待其生产完毕。还要注意的是，资源生产设施有一个上限数值，这意味着在资源达到特定数量时，该设施才会停产资源，而玩家搜集这些资源之后它们又会继续开工。为了提升资源生产上限，玩家必须为资源生产设施升级。
《Clash of Clans》中的资源生产处理得很完美。首先，你每次开启游戏时都可以去收割你所有的资源；其次，自动化农场机制鼓励新玩家频频访问游戏，因为资源生产设施会在早期很快达到生产上限。
（在《Clash of Clans》的经济系统中一切事物都紧密相连）
《Clash of Clans》中健康的留存率主要得益于玩家在游戏中所取得的稳定而可视性的进展。留存率中的第二个关键因素就是设计极为良好的核心循环，它会为活跃玩家提供奖励，让他们每次重返游戏时都获得一定进展。最后，留存率还与通知有关，每当你不记得重返游戏时，你的iPhone或iPad总会提醒你，不要忘了游戏中一些正在建设的重要内容。
《Clash of Clans》有一些很棒的首次体验流程，因为它创造了玩家与游戏区域的情感依附。游戏始于玩家进入自己的村庄，在此之前玩家会遇到与地精的一系列交锋。玩家用大炮保卫村庄（学习防御之术）并发起反击（学会战斗）。在反击战之后，玩家返回村庄并快速通过核心循环（游戏邦注：建设资源生产设施、建设兵营、训练军队）直到向地精发起第二次进攻。第二次进攻之后，游戏进程降至一般发展速度，并向玩家介绍其取得的成就。
《Clash of Clans》与类似游戏相比的创新之处在于单人玩家任务流。这里的单人玩家任务会单独呈现一个地图，直到玩家参与PvP战斗为止。
《Clash of Clans》的终极目标是打败其他玩家，并成为获胜部落的一员。在开头几天，玩家可免受其他玩家的攻击 ，但这个防御盾消除之后，你的村庄一天之内可能就会遭遇1-3次的灭顶之灾。每次防御失败几小时后才会重新激活防御盾。
加入部落后，玩家就可以聊天并在理论上部署作战计划，或者为其他部落成员报仇。实际上看，你确实可以聊天，甚至捐赠一些兵力，但你并不能协助作战，因为在《Clash of Clans》中你无法真正选择攻击对象。
《Clash of Clans》拥有盈利性极高的鲸鱼玩家，因为其中的物品售价会随游戏进程的发展而增长，多数留存玩家比新玩家更乐意消费高价商品。简而言之，ARPPU（每付费用户平均收益）与留存率关系紧密。
《Clash of Clans》还缺乏增强能量的道具。其实可以让玩家使用强大的易消耗武器来提升战胜率（不要低估玩家为自己的村庄复仇的决心）。这或许有利于将那些已经取得一定进展，但并不认为值得花30美元加速某项生产任务的玩家转化为付费用户。
《Clash of Clans》是一款出众的游戏，Supercell对这一题材的挖掘十分到位，超越了Kabam和Kixeye等战略游戏领域的行家。更令人称道的是，这还是Supercell首次涉猎战略游戏题材。
《Clash of Clans》是核心循环、出色图画与流畅玩家的平衡组合。它在收益榜单登顶的原因则是极为稳固的留存率和经济系统，而由于成本上涨，留存用户的每笔交易额也会相应提升。
但即便如此，《Clash of Clans》在玩法（战斗模式）、病毒性（世界地图、好友互动）以及盈利性上仍有较大提升空间。现在的问题是，是否有人能够推出优化版的《Clash of Clans》，或者Supercell能否在未来的升级版本中持续创造佳绩。我认为后一种情况更有可能，因为Supercell已表明他们有足够的耐心来优化游戏。他们不会被财报所绑架，他们也总是根据产品质量而非高管的意志来决定最终发布日期。我相信Supercell已经掌握了一个制作卓越社交游戏的制胜法则。
篇目5，分析《Clash of Clans》所存在的玩法局限性
这是我从最初玩Supercell的《Clash of Clans》以来一直在思考的一个问题。
与许多玩家一样，我最初在《Clash of Clans》中消费是因为游戏要求使用3000个宝石去购买额外的施工人员：一个针对于早期游戏阶段（游戏邦注：那时候你拥有较多资源，但却缺少施工人员）的硬门设计。
当然了，《Clash of Clans》的城市建造元素并不是游戏的全部。
我并不是在高度赞美这款游戏。在《Clash of Clans》中最让我“激动”的时候是一些淌着鼻涕的小屁孩因为还没玩够而将我踢出部落。
的确，我从花钱玩《Clash of Clans》中得出的最重要的一大结论便是，任何称职的新闻记者都不能从开发者手中收取免费货币，这将破坏他们对于虚拟商品价值的认知——这是F2P业务模式的关键元素。
所以在这种情形下，我是否应该将《Clash of Clans》从iPad中删除？
篇目6，揭秘《Clash of Clans》获得成功的5个关键因素
几个月以前，我参观了《Clash of Clans》的开发工作室Supercell，那时它靠仅仅两款游戏就迅速获利500万美元。
为此，我采访了《Clash of Clans》制作主管Lasse Louhento。他认为这款游戏的创意和开发过程在五个方面有所结合。
与现在的外观相比，《Clash of Clans》一开始的风格更偏向卡通和休闲。事实上，这款游戏的视觉效果经过了无数次变更才最终确定下来。
对于硬核玩家，《Clash of Clans》提供在线战斗元素。“我认为这款游戏带有竞技性质。游戏中有排行榜，会让玩家产生‘我想上榜’的感觉。我认为这样会使进程表现得更生动。”
Louhento认为，当手机游戏开发没有体现易用性时，你是可以看出来的——“以《The Simpsons: Tapped Out》为例，这是一款很棒的游戏，但开发团队没有费功夫思考‘这个按钮够不够大？易用性达到要求了吗？达到最佳效果了吗？’”
“我们花了成百上千小时玩《Clash of Clans》，只是为了尽可能解决易用性问题。如果我们觉得不够好，那我们就重做——我们下定决心要把滚动和轻拍的响应做到最好。”
直到最后一分钟开发团队才把指南放进《Clash of Clans》中。的确，游戏在苹果应用商店发布的前几周，指南的部分还没开工。
《Clash of Clans》和《Hay Day》是由Supercell内部的两支不同团队开发的。这两支团队时常友好地打探对方的开发进度，或者最近在制作什么功能。
“我们与《Hay Day》的团队保持健康的竞争状态。我们跟他们说，‘我们的控制功能比你们的好多了’。每周五，我们都会跟对方说‘我们在一周内就完成这个部分了’。然后过了一周，《Hay Day》的团队就会说，‘提醒你们，我们才一周就搞定这么一大块代码了。’良性竞争确实是件有趣的事！”
正是这种良性竞争，不仅使《Clash of Clans》的开发过程高效，而且充满乐趣。
无论是《Clash of Clans》还是《Hay Day》，都是几周更新一次内容——新道具、新商品和新角色等等。
Louhento解释道：“进入《Clash of Clans》才一两周的玩家不会看到某些功能。之后他们熟悉操作后，我们就开放一小部分功能，逐步提高游戏难度。”
至于如何保持《Clash of Clans》的平衡性，Supercell有一套系统保证任何新内容都不会破坏游戏的内部运作。
篇目7，分析《Clash of Clans》游戏设计的粘性
到现在为止，Supercell的《Clash of Clans》（以下简称COC）已经称霸iOS应用商店总收益排行榜好几个月了。在玩这款游戏的过程中（渐渐上瘾），我终于知道这款游戏为什么能够套牢玩家了。
篇目1，Playing with paying: How Clash of Clans makes a game out of monetisation
Anna Marsh is design director at Lady Shotgun Games, a co-operative of freelance game developers.
Its easy to think on Twitter that free to play is one of those things that you must either love or loathe – if you’re not for it you’re against it and vice versa.
Making a comment either way seems a sure fire way to trigger a heated debate.
Personally I’m ambivalent. I don’t think free to play is inherently evil, but at the same time, I’ve not (up till now) really enjoyed a F2P title for any length of time. In fact, I have far more paid than F2P games on my mobile devices.
However, over the last six months, Clash of Clans has begun to demonstrate to me how freemium can be really become part of the game design.
Cash of Clans
Clash of Clans is, of course, a fantastic game on many levels, and I reckon only a real stubborn F2P hater will find nothing to like about it.
There are many aspects I love about it – I like laying out my village trying to get a perfect, impregnable arrangement of defences. I like seeing my little warriors sitting round their camp fires. I like the minimum-communication-necessary multiplayer.
I like it so much that I’ve been playing for over six months and it’s become the only F2P game I’ve ever monetised – £2.99 to date, which is equal to the highest priced premium game I’ve bought on mobile and I’ve played it a heck of a lot more than that title.
I may even put another £2.99 in someday.
Clash of Clans
Several commentators have already examined why Clash of Clans is a great game in depth.
The stand out thing for me as a game designer is how the premium currency works not just as a pay wall, but as a proper game system that intersects with, not disrupts, the other game mechanics.
Mixing it up
Game design boils down to having a collection of systems that overlap with each other to create an experience that yields predictable results, but analogue outcomes.
For example, in a shooter, the systems governing weapons, aiming, ammo, AI and environment come together to create a game where I can predict the range and direction I will fire in when I hit the trigger, but the actual result of shot – hit, fatal headshot, miss – is analogue collusion between all those systems at the moment I fired.
Therein lies the fun, depth and progression of a game.
With F2P games I’ve played previously, the premium currency options have appeared rather digital – pay, or don’t pay. In contrast, Clash of Clans’s use of premium currency (better known as gems) feels far more analogue.
Of course, I can directly pump gems into buying an item I don’t have the resources for or instantly completing a time-based task. Or I can simply wait – for free. But, there is also a third option, and that’s to combine the two.
The number of gems I need to put in to buy or complete an object goes down according to how much of the soft currency I have available or (in the case of time) have already put in.
Rather than pay 500 gems or wait eight hours, I can choose to wait six and a half hours and pay 150 gems. Or raise three quarters of the necessary gold and subsidise the rest of the price with gems.
This gets more interesting when it interacts with the multiplayer system.
A player attacking you can always steal a certain portion of your resources, but if they are victorious your shield will activate automatically for a set time. Whilst your shield is active, your resources are quite safe.
Now, lets say whilst my shield is active my gold mines have raised 90 percent of the cost of an upgrade. When the shield deactivates, I can take a decision to subsidise the remaining 10 percent with gems, or wait and take the risk another player steaming in and nicking some of that gold I’ve just made.
Plus, since I can use gems to manually activate my shield, it may be more efficient to do that and let my gold and elixir mines do their thing for 24 hours than to put the gems directly into buying objects.
Then again, I can use just a few gems to boost my mines’ output which, if my shield has activated automatically, may be the best option. Or I can convert gems to resources. And all of this is dependent on how far I’ve levelled up the various parts of my village.
Different by design
The upshot, anyway, is that I have far more options with my premium currency than a simple pay or don’t pay choice, and the outcome of those options changes analogue to how the game’s other systems are affecting my game world at any particular time.
It all means that, yes, you can go in and mindlessly blast a load of premium currency willy nilly. But, with a little planning and skill, you can make a few gems go a very long way. The use of currency becomes a form of gameplay in itself.
Deciding how best to use my premium currency is something I enjoy in Clash of Clans – finding an especially efficient way of spending it to unlock an upgrade gives me the same kind of thrill as day trips to London when I make lots of journeys and get my money’s worth out of a one day Travelcard – and yes, okay, I am a cheapskate.
I don’t feel like I’ve somehow cheated or copped out of the “real” game by monetising (as I think many core gamers tend to feel about putting money into a F2P), but more like I’m spreading the cost of a game I enjoy over the time I’m playing it.
It is not perfect of course, but for me this is the game which has really started to put that often lofty sounding promise of freemium – a business model that removes barriers for new players and lets fans enhance their game by monetisation – into practise.
篇目2，Supercell’s chief wants every game to be as good as Clash of Clans (interview part one)
By Dean Takahashi
HELSINKI — Ilkka Paananen and most of his 130 employees at Supercell, the maker of the incredibly successful Clash of Clans mobile strategy game, are rich enough to retire. They just sold 51 percent of their Helsinki-based company to Japan’s SoftBank and GungHo Entertainment (the makers of the popular and lucrative Puzzles & Dragons puzzle-role-playing game) for $1.53 billion. That makes Supercell worth about $3 billion, or more than Zynga, the social gaming
giant with 2,200 employees.
But Supercell’s CEO says the company did that deal not as its end game but to secure stability for good and to set about its quest of “making history” in the entertainment business. He believes his job is to get the best people to make the best games and provide the best environment for them to work in. They work in “cells,” or teams of a half-dozen or so. They toil on games, kill off the bad ideas, and test the ones that are promising. By doing so, Paananen hopes Supercell will make a lasting impact on the game business in the same way that companies such as Disney and Nintendo have done — and in an environment in which more than 1.2 billion people play games.
Paananen met with a group of media attending the Slush conference in Helsinki. The company’s headquarters is on one of the upper floors of an abandoned Nokia research center, one of the ghosts of Finland’s tech economy. Now much of Finland’s game industry and its government investment programs have been inspired by Supercell’s success.
Here’s an edited transcript of our group interview with Paananen. The pictures in this story were taken at Supercell’s headquarters.
Question: Tell us how you work.
Ilkka Paananen: What keeps it all together is our unique culture. We’ve organized into these small, independent teams that we call cells. That’s where the name “Supercell” comes from. We believe that decision-making power about games should be as close to the player as possible. Therefore, the individual developer should be able to make decisions about their own work and whatever affects their players. If you do that, you can optimize for speed, and you create a sense of ownership among the people who work on the games.
We’re also very big believers in the concept of “small.” Small teams move quicker. There’s less management and bureaucracy and process. That results in happier developers and better games. Again, at Supercell, it’s really the team that owns the game.
As you know, in the games industry, companies usually go through a greenlight process. We don’t have one, because we don’t need one. At Supercell there are two entities that have control. One is the team itself. During development, the only entity that can kill a production is the team itself. Even I can’t do that. Then, once a team ships their game to a test market, power shift from the team to the players. At that point, they become very metrics- or data- centric. They have metrics a game has to reach in order to proceed to a global launch.
To put it simply, at Supercell, two entities have control. During development, it’s the team. After development, during the beta, it’s the players. It really is that simple. Everything unfolds from there. We’ve tried to create an environment of zero bureaucracy. Just super talented people. The role of management or leadership—First of all, we have very few of those people. But our main goal is just to create the environment and then stay out of the way so that people can focus on their work.
We’re also fully transparent as an organization. Every morning, an e-mail gets sent out to the entire organization – from trainees to the CEO – that has all the key performance indicators for each game. The same information is always available to everyone at the same time. We believe that if you provide people with the right information, you don’t need to tell them what to do. They can figure it out themselves.
Further, we really do celebrate failure. It’s not that we pretend that failing is fun. When we need to kill a game production–Imagine a group of five or six people who’ve worked day and night on a game for many months. Maybe the game just doesn’t fly. Maybe there’s a poor focus group result. Maybe the game goes to beta and users don’t like it for whatever reason. Of course it’s not fun when we have to kill a game at times like that. But what we think is worth
celebrating is the learning that comes out of that failure. When we have to kill a game, we always organize a party around it. The team gets up on stage and talks about what went well, what didn’t go well, what they learned. Then we hand them a bottle of champagne to celebrate what they’ve learned.
The fact is that, as a company, we’ve failed way more often than we’ve succeeded. Last year we killed at least five games. We launched only two. I fully expect that to be the case going forward. We’ll bring games out to beta and many of those games won’t fly. That’s the nature of the business. But we believe that if you don’t take those risks, you won’t get hit games either. If you want to do something innovative, you have to take risks. A natural outcome of taking risks is of course failure. This is what keeps the company together.
Question: What’s your mission?
Paananen: Our mission is to become the first truly global games company. For us, a truly global games company is one that has a hit game in the big western markets – in North America and Europe – and also in each of the big eastern markets – Japan, Korea, and China – at the same time. Our goal is to create games that somehow unite gamers all over the world. While we have a long way to go, there are some encouraging results I’d like to talk about today.
On iOS we have two games. Clash of Clans has been the number one game on the iPad top-grossing charts in 139 countries. Hay Day has been the same in 102 countries. With Clash, we got really excited about the Japanese market early this year. People thought that we were absolutely crazy. They said that Japan was just a big graveyard for western game companies. But we thought we’d give it a try. We’ve been quite happy with the results. At its peak, Clash made it
to three on the iPhone top-grossing charts, and it’s still in the top five or top six. It recently launched on Android and also made it to the top 10 – same with Hay Day.
People ask us, what’s the secret? I believe that it’s because we think quite differently about these games. A lot of companies bring their games out on a fire-and-forget type of model. Put the game out, it goes up, and after a few months it comes back down. Our games have stayed on top for more than a year now. Hay Day was launched globally in June of last year and it’s been in the top five ever since. Clash was launched in August last year and it’s still the number two game in the U.S. after Candy Crush. They have that staying power.
Why is that? The number one reason is that when we founded the company, from very early on our goal was to create games that people would play for years, not just for weeks or months. Lots of the creative people at Supercell have a background as developers or as consumers of MMO games. We play a lot of games like World of Warcraft or League of Legends. Those types of games have a very long shelf life. Our dream is to achieve something similar, but for the mass market and mobile platforms. Again, it’s early days, but we’re quite happy about the results.
It all comes from this mentality of thinking of a game as a service, rather than just a product. One of our explicit missions is that every single week, we want to make these games better for users. They always have to become better.
Question: Are you still in the lead?
Paananen: I haven’t seen the updates. I think in September we were number one, at least, but I can update you on those. But I’d assume so, because we’ve made some progress since then in Japan. But this is iOS only.
The other thing we’re quite excited about is the recent Android launch of Clash of Clans. Two things are encouraging for us. One is the reaction from players. We had more than a quarter million reviews, and the average was 4.7 out of five stars. It was a really good reception from the users. We were able to make it to the top 10 in two weeks, both in the U.S. and in Japan. Last I checked we were the number three game in the U.S. and I think number six in Japan on the Android top-grossing chart. Hay Day will follow a little bit later.
I’ll talk about the recent deal we did with Softbank and Gung Ho. Basically, how the deal was structured was that we established what’s known as a special purpose company here in Finland. That company is jointly owned by Softbank, which has 80 percent, and Gung Ho, which has 20 percent. That company owns 51 percent of Supercell’s shares. Both myself and Mikko Kodisoja, one of the founders of Supercell, sit on the board of directors of this company. So it’s not
a traditional — I wouldn’t characterize this an acquisition. It’s more of a kind of partner support, a strategic investment. As you know, they’ve paid roughly $1.5 billion for those shares, valuing the company at about $3 billion.
Question: Why did you do the deal?
Paananen: It boils down to four reasons. Most important, we feel that it’s still very early days for this company. We love what we’re doing and we want to continue to run Supercell as an independent company. This deal, more than anything, guarantees the independence of the company. A very large part of the deal is that the founders of the company still have voting control and decision-making power over the business. We can almost say that after this deal we’re more
independent than we were before, because the founders have substantial control over how we want to do things. We’ll continue to operate completely independently. All matters related to strategy, products, road maps, platforms, marketing, and all that are completely in the founders’ control. That was explicitly agreed upon with them.
This brings me to the second point. Before this deal, and before meeting the founders of Softbank — When people in the investment world talk about “long term,” they usually mean a period of five or 10 years. Then you talk to the founder of Softbank, Masayoshi Son. For him, the long-term is a 30-year plan and a 300-year vision. He’s completely different from any other business executive I’ve met, especially here in the west. These guys are all about the long term. If you compare their model to a typical venture capitalist, these guys could hold the stock of Supercell forever if they want to, and that’s exactly what they’re looking for.
Third, I talked about the dream of becoming the first truly global games company. Softbank obviously accelerates our path of progress toward that point. They have a strong presence in Japan, and also strong relationships in China and Korea. They recently bought Sprint in the U.S. and are becoming more active globally. It’s not a short-term thing. In the mid- to long-term, we believe there are benefits to be had from having them as a shareholder.
Fourth, what we share as a philosophy with Mr. Son is that we both think that life, and business life, isn’t a zero-sum game. We’re both about this ideology that we’re all in this together, and so it’s fair that all the economic value created by the company is shared by everybody who’s involved, including all the employees. That’s been proven by Supercell all along. This deal was another example. For us, it’s important that everybody with a share of the company is able to participate on exactly the same terms. Whether you’re a partner or one of the founders or an employee, the terms are the same. Going forward, we’ll pay dividends and so on. Every single employee has stock options, and they’ll be included in dividend payments. That’s a strong part of the culture of Supercell, and it’s great to see that Softbank shares many of the same ideas.
Question: What is the long-term view?
Paananen: We fundamentally believe that we are in a new era in gaming. It has to do with a few things. One is that gaming as a mass market phenomenon is heading to mobile and tablets. There’s going to be a place for the next-generation consoles, and again it’s not a zero-sum game – just because mobile is doing well, that doesn’t mean consoles should be doing badly. But we believe that this device is the superior device for the mass-market consumption of
entertainment. We believe that the free-to-play model, when it comes to the mass-market consumer, is the winning model. We believe that these games are becoming services. It’s not just something you launch and then move on to the next thing. You launch and then the real work begins. We believe we can create game services that will last for years, if not decades. And we believe that we can create games that have a truly global appeal.
Those are the fundamental drivers that we believe are changing this industry. On the back of those changes, we believe it’s possible to create a new kind of game company. Our goal is to create a company that is loved by its employees and also by players in the decades to come. What we’d like to create here is something that, say, 20, 40, 50 years go by, and then you can look back and think about Supercell. At that point, Supercell would really mean something. Think about Nintendo. It would be hard to find somebody who wouldn’t love the characters and the brands and the games that they’ve created. I would love to feel the same way about Supercell in 30, 40 years.
We would love to be part of the history of games, to create a company that changes how we think about gaming. But that obviously takes time. You can’t do that in a year or five years or probably even 10 years. That’s the single biggest reason that we wanted to do this deal. We wanted to make sure that we have a partner that shares our vision, but more than anything, has the patience to wait. If you want to try to do something like this, the most important asset you’ll need is time.
Question: I wonder how you feel about all these contradictions here. You raise money, but you don’t need it. You have teams that are structured to be really small and fast, but you make games really slowly. You can share the wealth with all your employees, but then maybe they’re more likely to leave and start their own companies. There are all these very strange things that come from having so much success.
Paananen: It’s part of how we think a little bit differently from many other companies. We get that question a lot. People ask me and the others, “Why do you guys get up in the morning? You don’t really need to work for money anymore.” My answer has always been, and still is, that I’ve never worked for money. None of us have ever worked for money. That’s the strange thing. Since we became successful, all people want to talk about how much revenue we made yesterday. That’s become a topic in itself – what’s the daily revenue at Supercell? It’s awkward for us, because we’ve never made these games to make money. We’re passionate about games overall. We just want to make fun, great games.
So my answer to that would be, since we’ve never made games for money, I don’t see things changing in that way. Along the same lines, we want to make Supercell the best possible environment to make games. This is our number one goal as a company. That’s the idea that the company was founded upon. Why would anybody want to go and set up their own companies? If at some point we’re not the best possible environment to make games, of course they should leave
and set up their own companies. But as I say, that’s a very big part of how we think. We want to be the best environment for the best people.
Question: Do you think that Finland is the best place to look for workers?
Paananen: I do. It’s important to us — We explicitly agree about that with Softbank, and with our shareholders as well, that the company will continue to be headquartered in Finland. This is our home. Having said that, we have people who have come from 30 different countries. Roughly half of our employees are Finns and the other half come from somewhere else. It’s a very diverse group.
Having this kind of multicultural environment makes working a lot more fun. But it also has a clear business benefit. If you’re trying to be a truly global games company, it helps that you have your own mini-globe in the office. No matter what market we’re talking about, we have someone who comes from that country who can walk to my desk and have a chat about something.
Question: You primarily launch games on iOS and then on Android. Do you think that model is going to change as Android’s market share grows, or are you still going to be focused on Apple first?
Paananen: For the foreseeable future, that’s going to be the model we follow. The one thing that all of us have learned the hard way in this industry is to never say never, but right now that feels like the right approach.
Question: Is that because the ecosystem is better, or is it because you earn more money from iOS users than Android users?
Paananen: I think it’s a combination of all of tose things. We have less fragmentation on the iOS platform. And yes, it’s not a secret, but in terms of revenue the market is slightly bigger on that side. But as I said, that’s been the approach so far. It’s something we’ll continue to think about as far as
Question: It looks like Angry Birds has hit a peak and has sort of gone down on the top-grossing lists. How do you deal with that possibility in the future?Paananen: It comes down to the philosophy of how we design good games. As I say, our goal is to design games that people will play for years. We’ve had our games on top for, in the case of Hay Day, almost 18 months. We don’t see any signs of slowdown. But again, it’s the games industry. It’s extremely hard to
predict. We’re humble enough to realize that it could happen to us. But the only thing that we can do—We don’t worry about it too much. The only thing we try to focus on is making sure that these games become better and better for our players, every single week, by releasing updates and new content and listening to the users. We’re going to do that as best we can. That’s all we can d.
But I do think that games like ours are part of this new culture of gaming. Games have almost become part of your everyday life. Lots of our players say that in Hay Day, they check their farm before they eat breakfast, and then it’s the last thing they do before they go to sleep. These games have become part of their everyday routine. Our average player plays nine times a day, in both games. That’s an average. Active players play tens of times a day. These games
are almost like Facebook, a service you check in on many times per day. They become part of your life. As long as we can keep these games a relevant part of our players’ lives, they’ll have a long lifespan.
The other thing that makes people come back to these games is the social nature of the games. We’ve noticed this best in Clash of Clans. The number one reason people come back to the game isn’t the game itself. It’s the other people they’ve met through the game. It’s a strange thing, but the other players draw you back into the game.
Because of these two things – how people consume these games and how we’ve designed them, and more than anything, how they’re so social – those are the reasons we continue to believe they’ll have a lifespan of years and years.
Question: Why did you make a multinational and multicultural work force a priority?
Paananen: For two reasons. One, it’s so much more fun to work in an environment like that, with people from different kinds of backgrounds. Two, it makes a lot of business sense. When you’re trying to develop games for a global market, it’s incredibly helpful to have people from different cultures who can give feedback on the games. When you localize the games you can talk about everything. It makes a lot of sense.
Question: How much do you earn from each player of, say, Clash of Clans, on average?
Paananen: We don’t actually disclose that type of revenue KPI. For us, as I say, and every other free-to-play game, the vast majority of players play for free. There’s a small group who decide to pay for games. That’s a beautiful model, because if it’s done right, it’s a win-win for everyone. The people who don’t want to pay don’t have to, yet they can access and play very high-quality games for free. And then of course the people who want to pay can choose how much they pay. If it’s done right we believe the free-to-play model is the winning model, both from a developer’s perspective and from the consumer’s perspective.
What’s so important when you design for that model—I’m sure you’ve heard about the concept of play-to-win. That’s the one thing that you want to avoid. The key thing about free-to-play games is that they have to be fair. It must be possible to play the game without ever paying. That’s one thing we’re very proud of. In both of our games, there are quite a few users who haven’t paid a dime, and yet they’ve been quite successful.
Question: In Asia, it seems like this “pay to take a turn” model is quite popular. Do you have to make entirely different games for different markets?
Paananen: That’s what some people have suggested. We would be foolish to start changing our games for a local market. No matter how much we change them, they’ll never be as good as the local games. So we think of it the other way. We didn’t change anything beyond localizing the game. This is our game, what defines our game, the soul of our game. If you start to change the soul of a game, it won’t be good in anybody’s opinion. So we’ve kept the games intact
and just localized them. That’s definitely going to be approach we’ll follow, in line with our vision of becoming a truly global games company.
HELSINKI — Housed in an abandoned Nokia research building, Supercell’s headquarters is a lesson in itself. The Finnish company has become rich off its Clash of Clans and Hay Day mobile games. It sold 51 percent of its Helsinki-based company to Japan’s SoftBank and GungHo Entertainment for $1.53 billion. That makes Supercell worth about $3 billion, or more than Zynga, the social gaming giant with 2,200 employees.
The deal was one of the most interesting in gaming history. But all glory is fleeting, as World War II general George Patton once said. What guarantee does SoftBank have that Supercell’s next game will be a hit? We caught up with Ilkka Paananen, the chief executive of Supercell, with a media group attending the Slush conference in Helsinki.
Paananen says the company did that deal not as its end game but to secure stability for good and to set about its quest of “making history” in the entertainment business. Paananen hopes Supercell will make a lasting impact on the game business in the same way that companies such as Disney and Nintendo have done – and in an environment in which more than 1.2 billion people play games.
Here’s an edited transcript of our group interview with Paananen. The pictures are from a tour of Supercell’s headquarters, and we’ve included a photo gallery at the end.
Question: When we can expect the next game from Supercell?
Paananen: [Laughs] When it’s ready. At Supercell the teams have control. One of the things we believe is that it makes sense to test a game as early as possible. You might have read that we’re testing a certain game right now in the Canadian App Store, Boom Beach. Our model works, as I said, that it’s up to the teams, and then it’s up to the players. In the case of Boom Beach, if the players like it, we’ll launch it globally. If they don’t, we’ll kill it. It’s that simple. There are other teams working on other games, and the same rules apply. At some point those teams will launch something to beta. If it
works, great. They’ll proceed to a global launch. If it doesn’t work they’ll kill it and move on to the next thing.
Question: Are you a serial entrepreneur? How many companies have you worked with?
Paananen: I guess I could call myself that. A few of my friends and I founded our first games company back in 2000. The company was called Sumea. Then we grew to about 40 people and sold to a company called Digital Chocolate in 2004. I worked almost six years as the president of Digital Chocolate, and left in early 2010. I took a few months off and then was lucky enough to be one of the founders of Supercell a bit later on.
Question: What were the most important things you learned, going from company to company and environment to environment?
Paananen: The number one thing was that it’s all about the talent. It’s all about the creative talent. Unless you have the best talent—That’s all that counts. If you have the best talent, sooner or later the best games will follow.
The other thing I learned is to try to minimize the bureaucracy in the process. A lot of companies have these game review meetings, where teams bring their games in front of a committee that gives them feedback. It takes a lot of time. In the nightmare scenario the team spends more time pitching for the committee and preparing for the pitch than they spend on the game. There’s none of that at Supercell. That’s why even I can’t go kill a game. One of my explicit goals is to make myself the least powerful CEO in the world. I see my role and the role of the management is as an enabler so the best people can focus on their work. We try to create the best possible environment for them.
Games is a people business and only a people business. That’s the number one learning I found. The number two learning was the value of small, of keeping
things simple. We’re still a very small company compared to many of our competitors, and we want to keep it that way. Working at a smaller company is just a lot more fun. When working is more fun you make better games. It’s as simple as that. As a side benefit, when you’re small you don’t need the layers of management and bureaucracy and process that everybody hates.
Question: What’s your optimal team size? What sort of planning and management do you use around each of those teams and the games they’re working on?
Paananen: Clash of Clans was developed from the start by five people. We try to keep the new game teams as small as possible – anywhere from five to perhaps seven or eight people per team. The live game teams, because we’re serving millions of users every day, for practical purposes they need to be bigger. But even then the size stays between about 10 and 15.
Question: Is the Finnish economic environment friendly to startups?
Paananen: Yes, very. We have a great ecosystem for startups here these days. It’s easy to set up a company. We have a very competitive corporate tax rate. Starting from next year it’s going to be only 20 percent. It’s one of the lowest in Europe. It’s super competitive from that perspective. It’s easy to get people from abroad to move here. The bureaucracy is very low in that respect. And the environment is a very safe environment to live in. We have the best school system in the world. Finland has been on the top of those studies for the last couple of years. There are a lot of benefits on that side.
One huge benefit is the public funding that we get from the government. How we started Supercell is that we formed a group and invested a few hundred thousand euros from the six of us into the company. Then we got a loan from the government for 400,000 euros or so. Without that loan, Supercell probably wouldn’t exist. They give these types of loans to entrepreneurs. Even if you fail, you don’t need to file personal bankruptcy. It’s a great model. On top
of those loans, later on you get subsidies. We’ve gotten a couple of million in subsidies along the way, which have been quite helpful. It’s also quite easy to raise money from abroad into Finland. Leading venture capitalists like Accel, Index, Atomico, and others have invested in Finland.
One of the personal reasons I have, outside of Supercell, I truly believe that one day the Helsinki area can become a gaming hub – the Silicon Valley of Europe, if you want to call it that. A lot of other areas are trying to do the same, like Berlin and London and others, but I do think we have a great environment. We have a shot at it, at least on the gaming side. There are a lot of great gaming companies here.
Question: You mentioned the subsidies that you got after the initial loan. Could you elaborate on how that works?
Paananen: Basically, the government, from its organizations, can give two types of funding. There are loans. They can fund us with up to 70 percent of the total cost of a project. Those loans, eventually you need to pay them back, but they have a very low interest rate – like one percent, and maybe you have to pay them back in five or seven years’ time.
Then you have these subsidies, which you don’t have to pay back. At best guess, they might subsidize 50 percent of whatever expenses you have. We also got that type of funding very early on.
Basically, if you think from an investor’s perspective, or a venture capitalist’s perspective, it’s a beautiful thing. Say that I’m a VC and I invest one million euros. In relation to that one million, I already know that the company will get an additional one million from the government. That’s non-diluting money, so it won’t dilute my ownership stake. The public funding makes Finland a really attractive investment landscape.
Q: I understand that this is very good for you, but I’m curious about what it means for the Finnish taxpayer. [Laughs]
Paananen: This year alone, Supercell—I think the founders and the company together are paying something like [€270 million] in taxes. They spent maybe five or six million on us early on. So I think it’s a good investment from the Finnish government’s perspective. Somebody calculated that Supercell alone returns every single penny that the government has ever invested in any startup combined. Just with the success of Supercell, we’re paying it all back and more.
This country needs to reinvent itself after the collapse of Nokia. We need new companies. It won’t be enough to just have Rovio and Supercell. We need more and more. Everybody here realizes that. It’s a long-term investment from the government’s point of view.
Question: What’s your view of the game industry as a whole? Are you hoping that it becomes much more like Supercell? Do you see the large publishers losing influence?
Paananen: I wish that, in the games industry overall, more power would shift to the creative people. When I grew up, I played games like the old LucasArts games, or SimCity, all these great games. They weren’t made by big teams. Teams were quite small then. They were limited by disc space and all that stuff, but still—Because you couldn’t really impress people with graphics, there was more focus on gameplay. They were just fun. There were all these legendary creative geniuses working on games at the time. I would love to see the industry going back to that golden age of games, where small teams full of creative energy and passion would have more control.
It feels like the marketing people took over. For some reason, games started to use movies as their role models. All of a sudden you had to make a massive investment in a game. It was all about the first week’s sales, exactly like in the movies. Companies tried to create huge buzz before a launch, exactly like in the movies. I’m not sure it’s the right model for games.
Question: What do you think is the key factor behind innovation, when you think about the development of new games?
Paananen: It comes down to two things. One, give all the power to your creative geniuses. Organize your company so that you put the creative people front and center. Give them all the freedom possible. And then give them the permission to fail. You have eliminate the fear of failure completely, because if you don ’t, those guys won’t take risks. Without risks, there’s no innovation. Without innovation, there’s no hit games. You need to create a friendly, warm environment for those creative folks.
Question: Is there a rule or any criteria for deciding what’s a success and what’s a failure?
Paananen: Yes, there is. Sometimes people misunderstand our culture. Some people think that this is just a culture where teams can do whatever they want and results don’t matter. Nothing could be further from the truth. Before the teams start to work on something, we do spend quite a bit of time with them to pre-define the metric goals that they need to reach when they go to beta. We’re really strict about those goals. If they don’t reach those goals, we’ll kill the game. That’s it.
I won’t specify those goals, but they mostly have to do with retention and engagement in the game. How many people come back after 30 days? How many times do they play per day? And so on. We define those very carefully. That’s the agreement between the team and the company. So long as the team reaches those goals, we’ll proceed to launch. If they don’t, we’ll kill it.
Because of the small size of the teams, Supercell can be a relatively high-pressure environment to work on games. It’s not for everyone. You need to be proactive and very passionate about games and what you do. If you’re not, you won’t do well here. But for the right kind of people, it seems to be quite a nice place to work.
Question: Some say work-life balance matters less now that we just accept that we have one big life. But what do you do to manage people who have families or need to work flexibly? Do you not like to see people at their desks at 10 at night?
Paananen: We absolutely don’t like to see people at their desks that late. If you come here at 5:30 p.m., you’ll see that the office is pretty much empty. I’m not kidding. We’re extremely flexible when it comes to hours. Again, we trust our people. We don’t tell them how much to work. We don’t track their hours. We don’t track them at all. We just trust them.
We have only one simple rule – do what’s best for the team and for the game. For some people that’s working certain hours at the office and then working certain hours at home. That’s fine. The only thing we care about is results. We don’t care about how many hours you invest.
The games industry has been guilty of burning out people. It’s almost the norm, that you have these crunch periods. Some teams can crunch for an entire year. First of all, it’s fundamentally the wrong thing to do. It ruins people’s lives. But I also don’t think it makes any sense from a business perspective. Who can be productive working 18-hour days for a year? You won’t be productive and creative. It just doesn’t make sense for the company. We believe in working normal work days. But when we come to work, we work really hard and very passionately.
If you want to make the best games in the world, it does require extra effort and extra hours too. But you compensate for that. You take time off. We try to be sensible about that. If you burn out all your people in three years, you won’t be able to make history. As I say, it takes decades to do that.
Question: Do you share some things in common with GungHo?
Paananen: The biggest thing we share is how we think about games overall. Those guys are running the most profitable game on the planet in Puzzle & Dragons. And yet you hardly hear them talk about monetization at all. They think that games should be about fun, and if you make fun games, you’ll figure out how to monetize them as well. That’s a big part of their philosophy. They respect the creative people, as far as I can tell.
In my opinion, they’re some of the best guys in the industry. It’s funny. We don’t even share the same language with most of them, but whenever we go out with those guys, we have loads of fun. There are some really surprising similarities between Finnish and Japanese culture that turn up. We take our shoes off when we go into somebody’s home. [Laughs] Both peoples seem to know how to have a good party. It goes to all sorts of things.
I just have a massive amount of respect for those guys. That’s why we’re so happy that they decided to partner with us. It meant a lot to us. Even if it’s only 20 percent, in terms of absolute sums it’s a significant amount of money that they put in.
Question: Do you think that Nokia’s demise was inevitable? Was that just a cyclical thing, or do you think it made some missteps?
Paananen: Well, I’m not a Nokia analyst or anything, but clearly there were some missteps. Saying anything else would be lying. Of course they missed a few really important trends. These guys really came on and killed them. So yeah, I think clearly there were missteps. But that’s part of the business life. This will sound funny, but eventually I think it will be—Especially with the latest deal with Microsoft, I think it’s going to be a very good fulfillment. As I said, it forces this country to reinvent itself. We can close that book, I hope, and start to work on some new stuff.
Question: The model that you talk about comes from your experiences in gaming, but do you think that this is something companies should be applying more widely to other industries?
Paananen: Maybe, but I don’t know, because I don’t have any experience with anything other than games. It’s dangerous to give advice, especially if you’ve been successful. [Laughs] It’s funny how success changes the way people look at you. I was talking about these same things at GDC two years ago. There were maybe 30 people listening to that talk, and I knew maybe 25 of them by name. [Laughter] Nobody was really interested. Yet it’s still the same story and the same culture and the same values. The only difference is that now we’re successful and before we weren’t.
I truly believe that this is the thing that’s made us a success, but that doesn’t mean that we could make somebody else a success. Everybody needs to figure out what’s the best model for their business. But as a general rule of thumb, this type of model gives a lot more ownership to the people who do real work. That must be beneficial in general.
篇目3，Game monetization design: Analysis of Clash of Clans
by Pete Koistila
The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.
Game experience: warning – playing may cause addiction
Once you start you can’t stop. That’s Clash of Clans. Right after the first launch of the game and in the middle of the tutorial sequence the attack of Goblins starts and you are sucked into to the game. There is no return back.
You will easily play Clash of Clans for many hours in a row without any breaks once you launch it for the first time. Game is heavily addictive and sticky factor is very high. You just keep on coming back over and over again. Let’s analyze why?
User interface is easy to get into, graphics are extremely stunning, sound FX and music live along the game experience and most of all you will not get bored easily as game has “depth”. Well-designed core loop, retention, monetization and social aspect mechanics support entertaining game experience. Let’s see how.
Core loop: clear and easy, just keep on progressing
Well-designed core loop rewards player for being active and promises progress for each return session. The core loop of the Clash of Clans seems to consist of three different actions:
By collecting the resources you get elixir and coins.
By building and training your troops you spend collected elixir and coins.
By battling you collect more elixir and coins. And you can affect your ranking.
Image: Core loop of Clash of Clans 
Retention: newbies, mid-range and elite-groups
Retention rate measures how effective are you at getting players to come back to your game. For example what percentage of the players who played your game in day one are still playing in day two. 
According to Ilkka Paananen from Supercell, the key indicators Supercell is tracking are 1, 7 and 30-day retention rates. Lasse Louhento from Supercell has revealed that for Clash of Clans the company breaks down the audience into three stages: newbies, mid-range and elite-groups. Each of the segments play the game different ways and have different retention rates. 
As you start to play the game for the first time you will notice the tutorial part just sucks you into the game and you keep on learning new things after another. And what is important, not all dependencies are available at the early phases of the game as those might confuse newbies too much. Improving the tutorial part has boosted the retention of the Clash of Clans .
Newbies is the stage, players have to successfully complete to become valuable and engaged members of the community.
Monetization: it’s all about psychology of consumer behaviour
Almost all of the details in Clash of Clans are designed towards monetization (e.g. regular troops trainings and building your village). You always have a place to spend more money. Monetization method is based on the need of speeding-up your game progress. More you play, more time you spend to get achievements done. Or you could cut the paths and spend real money instead to fasten your progress in the game.
In the beginning of the game you have decent amount of free gems (in-game currency, which can be bought with real money). After few hours of playing you finally run out of free gems, because you have spent all your gems to gold and elixir (two soft-currencies, which can be cheaply bought with gems). At this point your psychology about gems is already formed; gold and elixir are cheap and you have purchased those with gems. Now you need to get more gems and you would get those by purchasing via the same “Shop” where you spend all your free gems. The threshold to purchase first gems with real money is low. Clash of Clans is optimized for the first purchase with real-money.
When you want to check how much real money you need to spend to get gems another psychological trick is used: price is presented in real money only when you are about to purchase more gems. Otherwise you keep on spending two soft-currencies: gold and elixir.
One aspect of monetization is a competitive level of game play; some people are willing to spend whole lot of money to be better and faster than others.  One of the former top players of Clash of Clans, Jorge Yao, has reported to spend about 3000 USD into Clash of Clans in order to stay six months dominating the Top Players rank list .
These hard-core players (whales) are even treated with a special care in real life. Supercell has organized special events for paying players with free beer and snacks .
Average Revenue Per User Estimates (ARPU) is estimated to be 4,60 USD and daily revenue estimates vary from 750 000 USD to 5,15 million USD [7, 8, 10]. Monetization really seems to work.
Social aspect: will you be my clan mate?
New York Times reported about a former top player called Jorge Yao, who spent over six months on top of the Clash of Clans ranking list . Jorge Yao gained virtual celebrity and became to social media star; he has gained over 30000 Facebook likes, almost 100000 Twitter followers and his Youtube interview has been watched over 400 000 times. How is this possible? How a single player of Clash of Clans could rise to social media star?
Clash of Clans has several social aspects in it: First of all, player is regularly guided towards creating own Clan to play with friends and recruit new members to your Clan. Clan mates help each other by sending reinforcement troops. You may challenge your friends via Game Center with your Apple ID or using your Facebook account to connect. Your Game Center friends appear when you are logged into Game Center.
Secondly Global & your Clan message board is always visible and in use. You are able share your messages with other players around the world or only with your Clan mates.
Thirdly ranking lists (Top Clans, Top Players) include the possibility to view top player profiles, visit their villages (imagine you could visit any village and see how number one top player’s village looks like – awesome!) and view clan profiles. You have a possibility to search any Clans. Clans have two different types: invite only or anyone can join. All these encourage you to play together. Join your troops with your allies. And remember what Louhento mentioned about dividing the player audience into three groups. One group was called elite-groups. This explains the popularity of Jorge Yao also. He was part of the invite only elite-group called North44 . Anyone could have viewed his village and see his profile on Top Players list for months.
Also you have a possibility to play the game in a single player mode or multiplayer mode. If you choose to play the game in single mode, you still are encouraged to play together with others with all the previously listed features. You may anytime to switch from single player mode into multiplayer mode. This is encouraged with a visible Attack button. Logic is very smart: you may spend your real-money in a single player mode or multiplayer mode. And both modes are sticky and addictive!
Social aspect seems to work very well as Monthly Active Users (MAU) of Clash of Clans Facebook app has risen in one year from 1 million (in Q1/2013) to 7,3 million (in Q2/2014) MAU (Quarterly average). All Supercell’s games (including Clash of Clans, Hay Day, and Boom Beach) combined to have 29,4 million daily active users on February 7, 2014.
Figures won’t lie, social aspect, game experience, core loop, retention and monetization all work better than ever. Try it yourself and you are hooked. [7, 9, 10]
篇目4，Clash of Clans – the Winning Formula
I see a pattern here. First it was Hay Day, which is Supercell’s first poke at farming games and hands down the best farming game on iPhone and iPad. Now Clash of Clans is doing the same thing to the strategy games by outclassing genre veterans with ease.
What makes Clash of Clans a great game is the trademark Supercell winning formula approach to game development. First you take an existing social game theme. Then you benchmark and reverse engineer the best titles in that genre in order to create a strong and natural feeling core loop. You follow up by building a game around that solid core loop. Sprinkle a new and improved game play twist and dress it up in stunning graphics. Finally you polish the game to perfection with a limited beta launch by making the game available only in Canada. Once it’s polished and the KPIs look solid it’s time to come out with a bang and take app charts by storm.
But even though Clash of Clans is the best there is it’s still not the best there could be. Despite being extremely polished and reworked on the basis of the genre benchmarks Clash of Clans has plenty of room for improvements in some key game play mechanics as well as in the virality and even monetization features.
The Core Loop
There are three major parts in Clash of Clans’ core loop: Collecting Resources, Building & Training and Battling. Nevertheless not all of the parts of the core loop are equally important as the importance of each part is influenced by player’s ongoing goal in the game, which creates different style game play styles from resource gathering and building heavy to active battling.
Collecting Resources – beautiful use automated farming mechanics
Coins and Elixir are the two soft currencies in Clash of Clans. In order to produce Elixir and Coins player simply needs to have Elixir Collectors and Gold Mines. Resource production is automated meaning that player doesn’t have to initiate resource production nor wait till resource production has finished production. Also to be noted is that the resource production facilities have a maximum cap, meaning that they will keep on producing resource till specific amount after which they will stop production till player has collected the accumulated resource. To increase resource production maximum cap player needs to upgrade the resource facility.
User initiated farming mechanics vs. Automated farming mechanics
The resource production is perfectly done in Clash of Clans. Firstly it’s always rewarding to return to the game as you can harvest all of your resources at the start of every session. Secondly the automated farming mechanics encourage new players to visit the game more often as the resource facilities reach their max pretty quickly in their early stages.
Building & Training – everything is interdependent
Roughly put; everything that has to do with building consumes Coins while everything that has to do with troops consumes Elixir. This means that starting a construction, research or an upgrade takes either Coins or Elixir (never both) as well as time to finish the tas. Time taken to upgrade a building depends on the building’s current level, so that upgrading buildings is fast in the beginning and extremely slow on later levels. Same steep curve applies also to the price of upgrades.
Upgrading buildings is crucial for progress as player needs more and more resources to build bigger and better units. What’s genius about the upgrading flow is that everything is tied to one-another meaning that players can’t just keep on upgrading one specific building but instead have to upgrade everything.
For example take a look at the image below. To upgrade a Gold Mine player need Elixir while upgrading Elixir Collector requires Coins. This ties the resources together as upgrading one resource production facility takes always exponential amount of resources produced by the other resource facility. There’s always a specific maximum level for each of player’s building based on the level of their HQ. Upgrading HQ takes tremendous amount of Coins and in order to store those Coins player needs Coin Storages, which cost huge sums of Elixir… well, you get the point…
Everything is interdependent in Clash of Clans’ economy
Nevertheless the greatest building/progress restriction is the fact that player has only two builders. In other words player can simultaneously have only two building/upgradings at the same time. Overcoming this restriction takes only $5, which is the price of a third builder (I’m sure many of us have made that purchase). In case you want to have a fourth builder, well the price just went up to 10$. Talking about great use of price elasticity!
Battling – stop punishing the player
Training troops consumes Elixir and takes time. The better troops you produce the more Elixir it costs and the more time it will take to produce them. But time and Elixir are not the only ones restricting players from building the most massive army. Every better unit takes also more housing space, which creates demand for bigger Army Camps. Army Camps need to be upgraded, this takes resources, time and of course upgrades to the HQ… and you’re back in the devilish interdependent economy of Clash of Clans.
Units cost Elixir and time. Better units require more space
limiting the size of player’s army.
Here comes the sad part from player’s perspective: all the troops you use in a battle are consumed win or lose. So you face a situation where you build and army, attack and lose every single troop even if you won the battle by a landslide.
Sure from economy perspective consuming the whole player’s attacking force creates a great sink for Elixir but from retention point of view I really think battling should be reworked. Kabam’s Edgeworld does in my view the battles better as it allows player to retreat (raid other players) as well as to keep all the units who survive a won battle. Not only is this approach more user friendly but it also creates demand for super units, which player can take from one battle to another. And believe me, super units, in which players emotionally invest to, sell like pop corn in a movie theater.
Solid retention in Clash of Clans is mainly due to the steady and visible progress players have in the game. Second key factor in the retention is the well extremely well designed core loop, which reward player for being active and promises progress for each return session. Finally it’s also about those notifications, as just when you think you won’t be coming back to the game any time soon, you’r iPhone and/or iPad informs you that the awesome building you forgot you were even building is ready now.
Clash of Clans has some great first time flow, as it creates emotional attachment to the game area aka. player’s village in a matter of 5 minutes. Game starts with Player entering her village, which is after a couple of dialogs attacked by goblins. Player defends the village with a cannon (learn defense) and launches a counter attack (learn battling). After the counter attack player gets back to the village and goes quickly through the core loop (build resource production, build barracks, train troops) till it’s time again to launch a second attack against the goblins. After the second attack the game slows down to normal progress speed and introduces the achievements (which work in the beginning as quests) to the player.
You start small…
But progressing is not only about getting more resources and upgrading your buildings and troops. Progressing is also a lot to due with the way you village transforms visually. The puny village of the first session will slowly but surely transform into a combination of Lord of the Rings and Warcraft.
…but you end up EPIC
What’s cool and new with Clash of Clans compared to similar games is the single player mission flow. Sure it’s super hard compared to the rewards you get for beating goblins and yes Edgeworld had also single player missions but the way they are presented on a separate map makes them just really compelling – till player engages in the player vs. player battles…
Players can choose whether they want to fight other players or AI (goblins).
The ultimate goal in Clash of Clans is to beat other players and be a part of a winning clan. First few days player is protected from attacks from other players but once this shield is dropped you become free game. In other words after the shield is dropped your village will be destroyed between 1 – 3 times a day. Protective shield is re-activated for several hours after each lost defense.
There are two ways player can stay away from destruction (or so we are told). Firstly players need to build up their defenses, which defend the village automatically in asynchronous PvP battle. Walls, traps, cannons, watch towers, mortars – you name it! Secondly players need to join a clan by restoring the castle next to their village (awesome way to introduce clans!).
The broken clan castle is found on the game fiel. Great way to set up a long-term
goal and avoid overwhelming new players.
Once in a clan players can chat and in theory plan attacks or revenge in behalf of other clan members. In practice yes, you can chat and even donate some troop but you can’t coordinate attacks, simply because in Clash of Clans you can’t really choose who you will attack. You can only revenge to someone who once attacked you or you can just attack random opponents who’re close to your own experience level.
So what’s the point of being a member of a clan apart from getting few low quality reinforcement troop for your next attack? Well, if you’re a member in a powerful clan, you all get awarded. There are weekly tournaments and those who wreck the most combined damage get awarded. So yeah, clans are fun for few dozen of people but not for the vast majority of daily players. Plus it would be nice to even get a notification that a weekly clan tournament has been restarted.
Clans don’t really clash because you can’t yet attack other players from this
view nor co-ordinate attacks against chosen opponents.
Second issue is with friends. Players can sync up via Facebook, which enables them to see all of their playing friends. But after syncing up things fall flat. You can visit your friends or view their clans (and join them). You can’t attack your friends. You can’t message your friends. You can’t gift your friends nor can you request anything from them. Not to mention that you can’t even invite players who are not playing to start playing.
All these people I know and no way to communicate with them.
Third issue is the lack of World Map is a serious downfall as map creates true rivalries between players and rivalries fuse retention as well as monetization. For example in Kixeye’s Backyard Monsters you can see you neighboring players, attack them, conquer new territories onto which you can create outposts.
World Map in Kixeye’s Backyard Monsters
Clash if Clans has a whale based monetization because the prices increase as the game progresses creating a situation in which majority of players (retained users) pay higher prices than minority (new users). In short: ARPPU goes hand in hand with retention.
In Clash of Clans players pay for speeding time and boy there are a lot of waiting in the game. As described in the core loop chapter every action takes time from building to upgrading and from training to improving units.
Gems are used to instant finish what ever player is doing. And that’s where the catch is. In the beginning whatever you are doing takes little time, which not only is good for retention but it also encourages to instant complete production with the free Gems you have from the start. So in the beginning it’s pretty useful and cheap to progress fast and the free Gems you get for completing achievements just push you in that direction (+ first time flow forces player to use Gems so many times that it starts feeling right). But as the game progresses the production times increase. Pretty quickly you are waiting days for productions to be completed – and some players will continue paying (now tenfold) to skip the waiting.
Smallest price point is $4.99 creating gigantic ARPPU and ARPU.
Gems can also be converted into Coins or Elixir. I usually like to sell separately virtual and premium currencies as it encourages paying players to make several purchases. For example if resources were sold separately buying Gems would help the player to instant finish a production. Then the player would want to start a new construction right away, which would create demand for Coins or Elixir. Player would lack the soft currency because he just speeded up the production instead of waiting so not enough time has passed and the resource production facilities are empty. Of course players can instant finish resource productions but that doesn’t create re-buys in the same session – only increases consumption of Gems.
Also Clash of Clans still lacks power ups. Magnificent consumable weapons players can use to improve the success of their attacks (don’t underestimate players’ willingness to revenge the attacks on their villages). That would convert players who have progressed far but don’t find it compelling to pay $30 to speed up a single production.
The best there is, but…
Clash of Clans is an amazing game. Supercell has thoroughly gone through all the benchmarks in the genre and created a game, which simply outclasses genre veterans such as Kabam and Kixeye. What’s even more impressive is that this is Supercell’s first poke at the whole strategy genre.
Clash of Clans is a combination of well balanced core loop, extremely compelling graphics and super smooth gameplay. What makes the game top grossing is the combination of very solid retention and whale economy, where retaining users end up making higher average purchases due to rising costs.
But even though Clash of Clans is the best there is there’s still room for significant improvements in game play (battle mode), virality (world map, interaction with friends) and even monetization. Now the question is whether there will be someone else who comes up with improved version of Clash of Clans or will Supercell continue it’s dominance with future updates. I believe in the later one, because Supercell has shown that they have the patience to perfect their games. They’re not moved by financial quarters and their deadlines seem to be tied to the quality of the product instead of a random date set in executives’ mind. I believe that Supercell has the winning formula to make great social games.
篇目5，Opinion: I’ve played Clash of Clans more than any other game, but now it’s time to log off
by Jon Jordan
As with everything in life, there are beginnings and there are endings.
Some can be excited and unexpected, while others are best when planned and measured.
That’s what I’m thinking a year on from when I first started playing Supercell’s Clash of Clans.
At the time, I didn’t know much about the game, and certainly during the Canada-only beta in August 2012, no one expected it to have the commercial and cultural impact it’s since generated as one of the most played and profitable games in history.
Equally, on a personal level, I’ve never spent so long playing a game, or indeed, spent so much money in a game.
So let’s get the money bit out of the way.
As with many players, my first purchase in Clash of Clans was the 3,000 gems required to buy an additional builder: a hard gate designed into the game during the early stages (around one month in for me) when you have a relative large amount of resources but are restricted by your lack of builders in terms of how quickly you can spend them.
In total, though, I’ve spent over $70, buying currency to speed up buildings and buy defences that provided significant new features.
Yet, as must be the case with such resource-based games, there’s only ever a brief plateau of satisfaction before another new unit or building update makes itself known to our envious brain.
This is most clearly seen in the update cycle surrounding your town hall, which is the core building that controls the levelling up process for your key resources – notably gold and elixir mining.
It’s the most expensive building to level up, but once you’ve completed this, all that’s happened is you’ve opened another layer of increasingly expensive upgrades, which quickly overwhelm the higher capacity resource production you’ve also unlocked.
Of course, the city-building aspect of Clash of Clans is not the game itself.
It’s merely the foundation on which you build your armies, either to play the single-player (effectively the practice) mode, or attack other players for resources and ranking; an element most fully experienced in the game’s Clans mode.
To be honest, though, this was something I never found very exciting; preferring instead to act as a supplier of troops for the other players in my clan.
My base – not too good, not too bad
Not that I got much praise for it. The most ‘exciting’ thing that happened in terms of my clan-play in Clash of Clans was when some (no doubt) snotty-nosed imp kicked me out of the clan for not playing enough.
The very cheek of it!
So, even though I joined another clan, from that point on, my enthusiasm for the game was waning.
After a year of fairly regular play (at least once every couple of days), I was at the stage when any upgrade took days to complete.
Also, it was now almost impossible to organically collect enough resources to upgrade a building as, in the meantime, someone would attack my base and steal most of them; hence the only upgrade option available being to buy gems.
So, being of the analytic persuasion, I worked out how much it would ‘cost’ to upgrade everything in my base to its next level.
In in-game currency terms, the answers was 103.7 million gold, 45.65 million elixir and 10,000 dark elixir.
In hard currency terms that’s 49,225 gems, which converts to $351.57; despite my relatively advanced in-game level, for me that was a surprisingly large number.
Yet, time and money has not been wasted.
As a journalist, it’s become clear to me that in order to have an informed opinion on free-to-play games, you have to spend time and money actually playing them.
Indeed, one of my most important conclusions from p(l)aying Clash of Clans is that any journalist worth their salt should not be expensing back their in-app purchases (or receiving free currency from the developer) as it totally destroys your perception of the value of virtual goods – the key aspect of the F2P business model.
It’s also important to play some of these games for long periods of time to see how your motivations to play and pay rise and fall over the months. And, of course, to experience how developers update their games with new content and time-dependent offers to keep their long term audience interested.
So, in that context, will I be deleting Clash of Clans from my iPad?
Not quite. It’s going into a new folder called ‘Games I Used to Play’. I might dip back into it every so often, but my attention is demanded elsewhere.
The folder marked ‘To Play’ is now filled to bursting.
篇目6，lash of Clans’ 5 keys to success
By Mike Rose
When I visited Clash of Clans studio Supercell a couple of months ago, the company was raking in $500,000 a day from just two titles.
Now that figure is more than $1 million a day, according to a report from Pando Daily — and who knows if it’ll stop there.
I previously talked to Supercell CEO Ilkka Paananen about the company’s success, but what I was really interested in was delving into the nitty gritty, and questioning the game designers directly.
To this end, I discussed the development of Clash of Clans with its product lead Lasse Louhento. Here, he describes five ways in which Clash’s creation and ongoing development were brought together.
1. Bring in both the casual and the hardcore players
Clash of Clans originally had a much more cartoony and casual look than its current form — in fact, the game went through numerous visual alterations before the final look was settled on.
“We had this notion that maybe the hardcore players would actually dislike this, and think it was too childish,” explains Louhento. “So we had to find a sweet spot, such that it wouldn’t alienate the casual players – nothing dark and black and evil and realistic – but on the other hand, it couldn’t be too blubby.”
This wasn’t a quick chop and change, admits Louhento. “It took us a while – it wasn’t an easy task!” he says.
What the team eventually settled on was a mixture of realism, and a “super-deformed, Japanese style,” adds the project lead. “I’m a huge fan of Pixar, and their characters are appealing to a younger audience, but at the same time, they’re cool for adults too. We’re also big fans of Capcom characters – strong character art that’s really polished.”
Within the team of 5-6 people, more than 10 different character concepts were brought forward and abandoned before they found exactly what they were looking for. Discovering that perfect mixture of both casual and realism in the visuals was key to pulling in a wide range of players.
It’s not just the visuals, of course. Casual and hardcore players want different types of gameplay, and attempting to mix these together can be tricky.
For the hardcore, Clash of Clans offers online battling elements. “I think there’s something about the competitive nature of the game,” says Louhento. “We have leaderboards, we have that kind of edge where people think ‘Oh I want to be there, so I’ll need to upgrade this.’ The progression, I think, is more visual.”
And for those players who aren’t so into attacking each other, there’s enough to keep them entertained on the side.
“It’s the social elements too,” he reasons. “You can chat to clan mates, and donate troops – that feeling of belonging together is really powerful. Once people get into a clan, they are really invested and willing to play for a long time.”
2. Have a clear goal from early on
“For the first two months, we did a company-wide demo, and everybody played inside Supercell,” says Louhento. “We coded all the basic functionality, all the character behavior – I think we only had the Barbarian character back then though.”
He adds, “It was multiplayer, running on a server. And it felt really good.”
This was a bit of a blessing for the team — to have a game that felt good to play from the get-go — but it really all came down to knowing exactly what their goal was from the very beginning.
“It was an easy project in a way,” he admits. “Obviously we put hours and hours into it, but the goal was pretty clear from early on. There were pieces missing, but the structure was there.”
And Louhento puts a lot of this down to the company’s tablet-first strategy. “We make these games for tablets – we can see how things are scrolling, we think about the framerate, and we’ve done a lot of work on the gesture controls.”
Louhento believes that you can tell when a mobile game hasn’t really been developed with usability in mind. “Take The Simpsons: Tapped Out, for example,” he says. “It’s a great game, but they didn’t really put in the effort to think ‘Is this button big enough? Is the usability good? Is this really optimal?’”
“We all played hundreds and thousands of hours of Clash of Clans, just to try to iron out everything. If it didn’t feel right, let’s do it again – let’s really make the scrolling and tapping work best,” he adds.
And this isn’t an new idea either. The public has been choosing the products with the best usability options for many years now, reasons Louhento.
“When Google and Alta Vista came out, they were basically the same thing, but one was a bit more minimalistic, a bit more clear, it performed quicker,” he notes.
He continues, “I think that’s a big part of it – usability. I remember when we were first looking at iPad games, and there were horrible framerates. We said, ‘How can anyone create this UI? Has anyone actually played this game?’
There was plenty of gorgeous artwork and clearly huge amounts of effort put in to make games look great, he says, “but the interfaces and controls weren’t done for tablets – you could easily see that it was a port. You could see the developers who had said ‘Oh, let’s port our PC game for iPad’. And it just felt sucky, so we wanted to make a completely different approach.”
3) Don’t overdo the tutorial
You may or may not be able to tell, but the tutorial for Clash of Clans was added at the very last minute. Indeed, just weeks before the game was launched onto the App Store, no work had been started on the tutorial at all.
Says Louhento, while it is of course important to teach your players had to handle the game properly, there’s far too much emphasis put on tutorials elsewhere in the industry.
“We’re not big fans of long, overdone tutorials,” he says. “I know Zynga has a lot of what they called the ‘Onboarding Stage’, and they spend a lot of time and effort with it – there’s a whole Onboarding team, and they specialize in looking at the metrics, and deciding things like, ‘Let’s make them click here, let’s have a bigger button here, let’s remove the ‘x’ button in this window’ and all that sort of nasty stuff.”
“We really don’t want to do this nasty stuff,” he continues. “If people like what they see and feel comfortable with the environment, then great.”
Of course, as new elements are added to the game that need explaining, then the original tutorial will be updated to incorporate this. And, as Louhento adds, “If we see that the retention in the first phase could be a bit better, we play with it a bit – maybe that button is in a weird place, tweaks like that.”
But in general, the project lead believes that there’s way too much time and money splashed on teaching players every nook and cranny of social games.
4) Healthy competition is great for your company
Clash of Clans and Hay Day were developed by two different teams within Supercell, and the two groups would constantly have friendly digs at each other about how far they were through development, or the features they’d managed to implment most recently.
“We had this healthy competition with the Hay Day team,” Louhento explains. “We’d say ‘our controls feel better than yours’, and every Friday we’d say things to the other team like ‘we managed to build this in a week’.”
“Then next week the Hay Day team would say ‘by the way, we just did this big chunk of code in a week.’ So there was some great, healthy competition. Funny competition!” he adds.
This was a huge part of what made development on Clash of Clans not only of a high standard, but also enjoyable.
“I’ve been making games for 20 years,” Louhento says, “and I’ve never seen this kind of progress – and also joy from making games.”
5) Don’t overwhelm your players
Both Clash of Clans and Hay Day are updated every few weeks with new content — new items, new in-app purchases, new characters and the like.
But updates such as these can be tricky. New players can potentially become overwhelmed by hordes of content, while veteran players may feel like new content messes with the equilibrium of the game.
Supercell’s solution is to only make new content available to loyal players, and bring new players in more gradually before throwing everything into their boat.
“A player coming into Clash of Clans won’t see certain functionality for the first two weeks,” explains Louhento, “and then once they are familiar with the controls, then you can complicate the game a bit, by adding pieces to it.”
“We try not to mess around with the very beginning of the game, because we know it works,” he adds.
Adding new content must conform with the game’s balance between casual and hardcore too. “We’re aware of the fact that we can’t make it too complex, yet it has to have that hidden depth,” Louhento notes. “From the outside it looks relatively simple, but it has that hidden depth.”
And when it comes to keeping a complex game like Clash of Clans balanced, Supercell has a system in place that makes sure any new content doesn’t screw around with the inner workings.
An automated testing simulation runs thousands of battles one after the other, throwing in randomly sized armies with different soldier types each time, and then correlates the data to see whether they’re an obvious area in which the game can become skewed.
“There might be tricks that players figure out of course,” admits Louhento, but for the most part he says that this simulation stage catches all of the bad balancing that could potentially ruin the game.
篇目7，Guest Post: Clash of Clans engagement analysis
by Kevin Oke
Supercell’s Clash of Clans (CoC) has been a top grossing title on the iOS app store for months now, and in the course of playing (and becoming addicted to) the game, I began to unravel just how it manages to engage and retain players so well.
Meaningful Downtime Mechanics
Games relying on appointment mechanics as part of their compulsion loop typically have trouble addressing the downtime that arises in between these appointments. Specifically, how to engage players during this time, as generally the most engaging gameplay and core mechanics are intertwined with these downtime-creating appointment mechanics. In city builder games, usually the only thing available to the player during downtime is re-organizing their cities — shallow gameplay, generally speaking.
In this sense, CoC is no different. However the composition of the player’s village is not only vital to success, but a downtime session of moving gold mines and cannons around can directly lead to a micro-transaction.
A quick explanation for those that have not played CoC: The layout of your buildings, walls, traps, and weaponry are key, as you need to defend against raids from other players. An airtight defense quickly becomes the obsession of CoC players as they try to protect their stores of gold and elixir. Using the Replay feature (more on this later), they watch and learn from their defeats, tweaking their layout to patch holes in their defense.
In short, this is a fantastic downtime mechanic. Why?
It creates additional, long play sessions (a level 20 player could easily spend half an hour doing a total revamp of their defenses).
Spurs on purchases — “I could defend the south side of the village with just these two cannons if they were upgraded. But I don’t have enough gold … But if I don’t upgrade, I’m too vulnerable.” A perfect example of this mechanic leading to a micro-transaction.
The player’s fortress layout is personal and unique. This attachment is great for engagement long-term.
As you can see, this isn’t just a fantastic downtime mechanic, but a fantastic gameplay mechanic period.
Loop optimization provides the player with tricks to discover and exploit over the course of their lifetime within the game. A prime example in social games is Farmville players finding and planting the seeds with the best coin/XP cost ratio. Instances of loop optimization help with long-term engagement by making a game more difficult to grok, and in competitive games, providing an edge to players with the will to unearth them. In social games with appointment mechanics, they also create more sessions per day.
Loop optimization in CoC is centered on resource collecting and raids. In classic appointment mechanic fashion, for the player to most efficiently harvest gold and elixir they need to return to the game and harvest right when the resource generating structures are at max capacity. Harvest any time past that point, and it’s the equivalent of turning on a tap to fill a bucket and leaving, coming back, and seeing the bucket overflowing — wasted resources. This is not unique to CoC in any way, but it’s still important in maximizing the number of daily sessions per player.
The more interesting loop optimization comes from player vs. player (PvP) and the threat of raids. Leaving hoards of gold and elixir sitting around makes the player a very appealing target for raids. Thus they are encouraged to check in often and do one of two things:
Collect their resources from the buildings that generate them, moving them into their storage units, which if the player is smart, are behind fortifications.
Collect and spend their resources immediately.
As the player can only build a certain number of defenses at any given time (based on the level of their town hall), they can never provide adequate protection for all of their structures.
Thus the need to check in often and spend, or move the gold and elixir to storage units that are better protected — it’s a common strategy to keep storage units behind walls and near archery towers and cannons, and leave gold mines and elixir collectors out in the open, as they store much less and therefore are less of a loss if pillaged.
This all means that saving up for big-ticket upgrades and buildings is risky. The more time spent saving up, the bigger the loss and time wasted if the player is raided. Recognizing that a moment of tension and risk is a great time to conduct a micro-transaction, Supercell offers a shield that will protect the player from raids while they are saving up. Or the player can just buy the item in question immediately with hard currency.
The replay feature was added to CoC in an update, and in short, it’s brilliant. Allowing the player to see first-hand how they got raided by pointing out the weak points in their fortifications makes them spend more time and money in-game adjusting their defenses. It functions as a useful tutorial, of sorts.
Push Notification Strategy
CoC’s push notifications are useful, draw the player back into the game for another session and aren’t spammy. Push notifications telling the player that their village has been raided are particularly effective at creating both new sessions and monetization. Stolen resources set the player back in the “harvesting” portion of the game loop, which can lead to micro-transactions by impatient players wanting to catch up.
You would be hard pressed to ever want to turn off the game’s push notifications because of this balance of utility and unobtrusiveness. I believe this restrained approach has been taken because the threat of PvP raids creates an organic source of notifications that, if combined with too many “hard coded” ones, could have become annoying.
Behind the gaudy revenue that it brings in (Supercell reportedly makes approximately $1 million a day between its two iOS titles), Clash of Clans is a highly engaging game with an especially tight game loop and economy that deserves every designer’s attention. Although it is still lacking a cohesive social experience, even the most cynical opponents of free-to-play games can see the care and attention that has gone into creating it.