Supercell hooks Playfish co-founder

Kristian Segerstrale joins Clash of Clans studio's board, touts long-term plan over short-term growth

The latest darling developer of the gaming startup set has added a new director to its board who has some experience with that particular situation. Supercell today announced that it appointed Kristian Segerstrale, co-founder of Playfish and Macrospace (later Glu Mobile) to its board of directors.

Segerstrale, a limited partner at VC firm Initial Capital, has been involved with Supercell from the beginning, as Initial led the studio's original round of financing in 2010. The Supercell appointment is his first new post since leaving his position as Electronic Arts' executive vice president of digital games in February. (Segerstrale had remained with EA after the publisher acquired Playfish in 2009.)

Speaking with GamesIndustry International, Segerstrale said one of the things that drew him to the Supercell opportunity was the "incredibly mature and thoughtful" way the company has taken its success in stride. Even though its two iOS titles, Clash of Clans and Hay Day, have been phenomenally successful (accounting for $104 million in profits in the first quarter of this year), Supercell has resisted the urge to push out more games and grow its headcount quickly instead of hiring only the best.

"I don't think mobile games companies that are successful like Supercell right now should try to be the next Disney, or EA, or Pixar," Segerstrale said. "Actually, the world is in such an interesting place that Supercell should just be Supercell, and what I'm hoping to do is contribute my experience and learnings and successes and failures to that management team's thinking."

That could be taken as a slight jab at another Finnish phenom, Angry Birds developer Rovio. Executives with that studio have repeatedly used the multimedia success of Disney as a long-term goal for the company's growth.

Although Segerstrale acknowledged growing interest publicly around the console market thanks to the impending arrival of next-gen systems from Sony and Microsoft, he suggested Supercell would be laser-focused on mobile platforms.

"The future vision of the industry is one where people will no longer play as much on these shared screens in the living room, and media consumption as a whole will continue to gravitate toward personal screens," Segerstrale said.

And even though former Zynga investors might beg to differ, Segerstrale said social gaming will continue to loom large in the industry.

"It initially blew up as a vertical and was gaming on Facebook," Segerstrale said of social gaming, "but after that it took more of a horizontal turn, to where gaming initially on mobile and tablets and now consoles and everywhere else [now] incorporate social gaming elements. And many of the principles that were built up in social gaming around microtransactions, games-as-a-service, and events have actually transcended Facebook to become just part of the fabric of the gaming industry."

In particular, Segerstrale said Supercell has built on the pioneering efforts of others in the social industry and appropriated them for use in the mobile and tablet market.

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Latest comments (5)

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 6 years ago
An indicator of the time we are in.
EA lose their VP digital and he pops up at SuperCell.
This was a huge loss for EA and a huge win for SuperCell.
A changing of the guard as the old school publishers get left behind and the new digital publishers take over the mantle.
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Peter Moore Chief Operating Officer, Electronic Arts6 years ago
"EA’s Q4 non-GAAP digital net revenue increased 45% year-over-year to $618 million. Trailing twelve month digital net revenue was $1.66 billion, representing growth of 36%....
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 6 years ago
@Peter Moore

Shows what a good job Kristian was doing.
And nearly 1,000 titles on the Apple App Store is a significant presence for EA.
However SuperCell have been grossing more than EA there with just two titles.
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Iain Stanford Experienced Software Engineer, Tinderstone6 years ago
Bruce you often seem like a perfect case example of confirmation bias in these comment sections.

If Peter had posted a quote showing a decrease in growth for EA, you would have said "See, like I said EA are struggling, boxed products, consoles dieing, all hail F2P apps as literally the only possible option". If Peter had shown no change in growth, you would have said "See, its about to start declining...etc". But Peter quoted an INCREASE in revenue and you STILL post along the lines of "See, I was right, Kristian (not EA?) was doing well ,they are now just about to decline......all hail F2P, consoles are dead, mobile is literally the only possible future".
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Peter Moore Chief Operating Officer, Electronic Arts6 years ago
Our digital business continues to be a diversified mix of high growth, profitable segments. Breaking the digital revenue down by type shows the following:
• First, full game downloads contributed nearly $100 million, up 65% compared to the same period last year. Full game downloads have typically been driven by PC products, and this quarter SimCity was a key driver of that growth.
• Second, extra content and free-to-play contributed $224 million, up 45%, led by sustained growth in FIFA Ultimate Team, and solid results from Star Wars: The Old Republic and Bejeweled Blitz. This revenue relates to businesses on PC or consoles, where consumers can enhance or extend their gaming experience by buying additional digital content -- including virtual characters, virtual goods and map packs associated with console, browser-based games or MMO’s. Our Star Wars: The Old Republic game is a combination of free-to-play and subscription business models. Both models are performing well. The game has attracted new free-to-play members and total active users are up. We continue to deliver new game updates for the community every six weeks, helping drive subscribers and free-to-play consumers to the game.
• Third, our mobile business generated $104 million for the quarter and was up 21% over the prior year. Smartphones and tablets were a major portion of the revenue, accounting for $79 million of the $104 million total, growing 27% year-over-year. Real Racing 3 successfully launched simultaneously on iOS and Android, while The Simpsons: Tapped Out continued to be a key contributor. We remain focused on this segment due to the significant global growth in the smartphone and tablet markets.
• And fourth, subscriptions, advertising, and other digital revenue contributed $191 million, growing 54% over the same period last year. The significant increase is primarily due to the recognition of $121 million of the full year’s Battlefield 3 Premium subscriptions. We recognized this revenue in Q4 when we delivered the fifth and final expansion pack entitled End Game.
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