Softbank has announced that it has now bought an additional 22.7 % stake in Supercell, taking its total share to 73.2 %. Under the new agreement, Japan-based SoftBank acquired the additional 22.7% holding in Supercell by purchasing stock held by existing external investors.
The Finnish folk of Supercell are behind blockbuster titles such as Clash of Clans and Hay Day and SoftBank’s official channels say that Supercell will continue as an independent company, with existing CEO and co-founder, Ilkka Paananen, staying.
“Supercell will continue to operate independently and Ilkka Paananen will continue to serve as CEO.”, Says a statement from SoftBank
Supercell, founded in 2010, has had a massive growth acceleration since last year. Supercell’s revenue tripled to 1.5 billion, while profit doubled to 515 million Euros, making it one of the world’s most top-grossing gaming companies. But the growth becomes even more significant if you consider the extremely limited portfolio of games by Supercell, as they have only a select few games they develop.
“Our focus at Supercell has always been to make great games that people enjoy for years. It’s why we started the company, it’s what everyone at Supercell loves doing and we’ll continue to do so in the years ahead. We’re grateful to our investors, including Softbank, who have supported our long-term vision.”, a statement from Supercell says.
They reason why Supercell is so fascinating is because of how its infrastructure is organized. The company itself is split up in smaller cells and each cell has an independent task with developing new games or expanding/building features for existing games. Each cell is given a huge amount of control as to where they want to go creatively. Sure, they have a company line to follow, but it seems they have more freedom than most developers, or anyone else who has an ordinary day-job.
The concept is that the cells themselves organize, distribute work, prioritize ideas, and determine what game they want to produce. But if one of the main reasons why Supercell has been so successful is their multiple six-man teams, then it’s only a matter of time before others will try the same thing.
To those wondering how Supercell managed to grab that success with so many small teams scattered all around, it actually gets even better. With only 100 employees, compared to 3000 at Zynga and almost 10,000 at EA, Supercell apparently has the secret ingredient for the world famous Success-Pie.
Instead of hiring left and right, Supercell uses a radical new model for agile content development. Meaning they can work faster and more, and still cycle through the concrete ideas that inevitably sink, so they can get to the good stuff. Supercell recognizes that by building games quickly with small teams, they can have multiple shots at developing blockbuster games in the same time it takes others to build a single game. Not only that, it also saves them the psychological and economical headaches, as it is so much easier to scrap a project that was built by six people in six months than one that took 100 people 18 months to build.
Despite developing games for mobile, it would seem that Supercell has a more efficient and beneficial strategy than your average AAA console industry studio, many of which appears to have neglected the value of great game play. Yes, they devote massive resources and high-class movie budgets to games with immersive and cinematic production values. But it just seems as if some form of originality was lost when the big studios started to prioritize opening weekends and DLC purchases instead of great core gameplay.