Whatever your feelings are on freemium app and game models, statistics and figures don’t lie, and the numbers paint a picture of success for apps and games which utilize freemium/free-to-play structures. No other company seems to reaping more rewards from this model than Supercell, the developers behind the famed and vastly popular strategy game Clash of Clans, which at the time of writing sits at the number one game among all apps/games in App Annie’s top app matrix in the grossing list for 80 of 101 countries it analyzes. This is just for Google Play alone and doesn’t count the countries in which it sits at number one for iOS.
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What this amounts to is a lot of players across multiple platforms, a huge number of which are likely spending some amount of money on in-app purchases which help them in the game by either giving them more currency with which to buy in game items or upgrades, or speed up the process for building structures within their base. Clash of Clans wasn’t just “popular” since it arrived on mobile devices back in 2012, it dominated the app charts and has been increasingly gaining more revenue every year since while also gaining more players. At the end of 2012 Clash of Clans had banked Supercell a total of $101 million in revenue as per their reported annual earnings. The following year in 2013, that number sky rocketed and jumped up to a reported yearly revenue of $892 million, a $791 million increase. This shouldn’t be a surprise when you factor in the popularity of the game in so many countries around the globe. Last year was Clash of Clans’ most successful year to date however, with Supercell reporting an annual revenue of around $1.8 billion, which is not only their largest number of earnings to date, but also their biggest increase in annual revenue from the previous year.
If you spread that over a 365-day period, Supercell nearly makes $5 million a day off of Clash of Clans alone. While Clash of Clans is their biggest success, it isn’t their only game, so the other thing to consider is that Supercell makes money from their other titles as well, and the $1.8 billion in revenue in 2014 is only a portion of their total revenue even if it is their largest portion. As of now, Clash of Clans is at its most popular since it launched, so it’s highly likely that Supercell’s 2015 annual revenue will have shot up even more. With Supercell making this much cash from a free game which implements in-app purchases as its revenue model, and only having increased since the launch, freemium is clearly here to stay as it’s proven to be a lucrative payout for developers and publishers.