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Supercell reveals latest fiscal figures, defends free-to-play model

Supercell reveals latest fiscal figures, defends free-to-play model
February 12, 2014 | By Mike Rose

February 12, 2014 | By Mike Rose
More: Smartphone/Tablet, Business/Marketing

We already knew that Clash of Clans studio Supercell was making a lot of money from just two mobile games. Today the company disclosed just how much revenue it has taken over the last fiscal year.

During the 2013 fiscal year, Supercell recorded GAAP revenues of $689 million, and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) of $322 million. The company noted that it paid approximately $345 million in taxes.

Supercell's Ilkka Paananen noted that these large-scale earnings are allowing the company to plan for the long-term future. "We have the financial security to do so," he added. "So we can think what's best for the players and Supercell."

Paananen also took the opportunity to announce that the company's third game, Boom Beach, will launch next March.

The game soft-launched in Canada and Australia recently, and currently sits at number 5 in the top grossing iPhone charts in both countries. The company is obviously looking to replicate the success it had with Clash of Clans and Hay Day with this new release.

Paananen noted that the company has hired 60 new staffers during 2013. He also added that Supercell does not plan to support the Windows Phone platform, as he says that, "The focus for us is a fundamental value we believe in, and we want to be very focused about the platforms we support."

Defending the free-to-play model

During a press Q&A this morning, Paananen was forced to defend the free-to-play model, and discussed the "whales" that play Supercell games.

As Gamasutra has investigated previously, high-spenders in free-to-play games can find themselves in difficult financial situations, as they struggle to stop themselves spending too much money on games that provide no spending ceiling.

But Paananen said simply, "I think you could say the same thing about every single form of entertainment - it's not healthy to watch movies all day, for example."

He added that Supercell watches over its highest spenders, and has invited many of them to visit the studio's headquarters in Finland.

"It's no secret that some players spend substantial amounts of money on these games," he noted. "But I wouldn't say the vast majority of revenue comes from them. These people usually come from an investment banker or lawyer background, and they spend a lot of money on golf courses and so on. I've asked them 'Why do you spend so much money on these games?' and they say 'People spend money on golf, I spend money on Clash of Clans.'"

He was keen to add that, "It goes without saying that it's not healthy to be just playing mobile games - just like with many other forms of entertainment."

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