'Clash of Clans' maker Supercell banks on few games

HELSINKI (Reuters) - “Clash of Clans” maker Supercell will focus on a few mobile games and kill off those which it does not expect to become a top-10 global hit, its chief executive said on Friday.

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The Finnish firm was the world’s second-biggest publisher last year in terms of revenue collected on Apple’s iOS and Google Play stores, second only to China’s Tencent, which is its majority owner.

Supercell’s four games -- Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, Boom Beach and Hay Day -- have around 100 million daily active players in total, with Tencent Chief Executive Martin Lau a self-confessed fan of real-time multiplayer game Clash Royale.

Ilkka Paananen, CEO of Supercell told the Slush tech start-up conference that the company had developed ten games ahead of its latest launch, but only released one of them.

“I fully expect that to be the case going forward... we won’t be launching that many games. We don’t want to launch games that we believe don’t have a chance to hit the top ten globally,” Paananen said.

Supercell, founded in 2010 and valued in 2016 at around $10 billion, had a core profit of around $1 billion on sales of $2.5 billion last year.

Clash of Clans, in which players form clans with other players and battle in a Medieval-style fantasy world, has remained on the list of top-earning applications since its launch in 2012.

Tencent’s Lau, who appeared on stage with Paananen, said he regretted not investing in Supercell earlier, adding that Tencent had offered to take a 20 percent stake in around 2012, but Supercell’s owners only wanted to sell a majority stake.

“I did a big mistake of not meeting him (Paananen) at that time, it was a $3 billion mistake.”

Supercell, which has kept its operational independence and Helsinki headquarters, first entered into a deal with Japan’s Softbank in 2013. Tencent bought Softbank’s stake last year and has increased its shareholding to 83.6 percent.

Tencent, China’s biggest social network and gaming firm, last month surpassed Facebook with a market value of more than $520 billion.

“Getting access to their resources in China is a big advantage for us,” Paananen said.

Lau, a passionate player himself, said he ranked at one point among the top 100 players in Clash Royale.

Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl and Tuomas Forsell; editing by Alexander Smith