What is Supercell (Video Game Company) and All it Entails?

Supercell Oy as the full name implies, is a Finnish mobile game development company based in Helsinki. Founded on 14 May 2010, the company’s debut game was the browser game, and after its release in 2011, Supercell started developing games for mobile devices. Since then, the company has fully released five mobile games: Hay DayClash of ClansBoom BeachClash Royale, and Brawl Stars, which are freemium fast-paced games and have been very successful for the company, the first two generating revenue of €2 million a day in 2013.

Following its rapid growth, Supercell opened additional offices in Tokyo, Shanghai, San Francisco, and Seoul. In 2016, the company was bought out by Chinese conglomerate Tencent holdings, taking an 81.4% stake in the company valued at €8.4 billion.

More on Supercell as a Company


Supercell focuses on the development of free-to-play games that yield profits through the in-game micropayments. The company’s objective is to focus on the successful games that stay popular for years. The focus has not been on revenue, but on the principle “just design something great, something that users love.” Game development focuses around “cells” of five to seven people which start with idea generation and an initial review by CEO Paananen. The team subsequently develops the idea into a game, which the rest of the company’s employees get to play-test, followed by playtesting in Canada’s App store; if the Canada reception is good, the next step is global rollout (App Store). Successful failures are celebrated by employees. One of the games that was cancelled well into development was Battle Buddies, which had also been rated well in the test market, but the number of players was still too small. The final decision for cancelling a project is done by the development team themselves.

What Is Supercell And All It Entails
Supercell video game

Background of Supercell Founders

Before Supercell, two of its founders, Mikko Kodisoja and Ilkka Paananen, worked at Sumea, a mobile game company. Kodisoja co-founded Sumea in 1999, and Paananen was hired as the company’s CEO in 2000. In 2003, Sumea made a profit of €1.2 million. In the following year, the American Digital Chocolate bought Sumea and made the company its Finnish headquarters and Paananen the European manager. Kodisoja, the firm’s creative director left the company in 2010, followed soon after by Paananen.

Paananen moved to venture capital company Lifeline Ventures, but wanted to create a game company where executives would not disturb the work of the game developers. Together, Paananen, Kodisoja, Petri Styrman, Lassi Leppinen, Visa Forstén, and Niko Derome who had known each other through work connections, founded Supercell in 2010. The company started its business in the Niittykumpu district of Espoo.

Kodisoja and Paananen invested €250,000 in the company. Tekes, the Finnish funding agency for technology innovation loaned them a further €400,000 and Lifeline Ventures also invested in Supercell. The following October, Supercell raised €750,000 through seed funding, including from London Venture Partners and Initial Capital. The first game Supercell started to develop was the massive multiplayer online game Gunshine that could be played on Facebook with a browser or on mobile platforms. The game prototype was ready in eight months. After Gunshine’s completion, Accel Partners also invested €8 million in the company in May 2011, and shareholder Kevin Comolli became a member of Supercell’s board of directors. Accel also invested in Rovio, among others.

In November 2011, Supercell abandoned Gunshine for three reasons: it did not interest players for long enough, it was too difficult to play, and the mobile version did not work as well as the browser version. At best, the game had approximately half a million players. Supercell considered Zynga’s market leadership in games on the Facebook platform insurmountable and so decided to focus on iPad games, cancelling a Facebook game it was developing. In order to ease concerns of Supercell’s investors due to the change of direction, Paananen increased the detail of progress reports.

The company simultaneously developed five games and the first to be released for public testing was Pets vs Orcs. This game and Tower were abandoned. In May 2012, Hay Day was published and eventually became Supercell’s first internationally released game. Hay Day was Supercell’s version of Zynga’s successful Facebook game FarmVille, an easy-to-play farm simulator. Supercell added to their farming simulator the ability to refine products, a production chain, and touch screen properties. The social aspect of the game was emphasised as well. In four months, the game became one of the most profitable games in Apple’s App Store in the US and was one of the most profitable in the world for two and a half years. The game receives regular updates and is maintained by a team of 14 people.

Cost Management

During Super Bowl XLIX in February 2015, Supercell spent $9 million for a 60-second runtime in front of 118.5 million viewers. According to The Guardian, the Clash of Clans advertisement was one of the most popular advertisements of the 61 spots aired on NBC. The commercial, dubbed “Revenge”, featured Liam Neeson parodying his character from the Taken film series by seeking revenge in a coffee shop for a random player destroying his village. The commercial has reached a total of 165 million views on the game’s official YouTube channel so far, and it was the most watched commercial on YouTube in 2015. Despite the success of the commercial, Supercell has seen only a marginal increase in downloads following the advertisement. In 2020, Supercell collaborated with an animation production studio Psyop, produced a short film Lost & Crowned, was uploaded on 12 September 2020 and qualified for Oscars recognition in December.


In 2012, Supercell was awarded as the best Nordic start-up company and chosen as the Finnish game developer of the year. The following year, Supercell won the Finnish Teknologiakasvattaja 2013 (Technology Educator 2013) contest, and the company was chosen as the software entrepreneur of the year. In 2014, the research and consultancy agency T-Media chose Supercell as Finland’s most reputable company in their Luottamus&Maine (Trust&Reputation) report.


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