Supercell is a mobile game developer based in Helsinki, Finland, with offices in San Francisco, Seoul and Shanghai. Since our launch in 2010, we’ve brought five games to the global market – Hay Day, Clash of Clans, Boom Beach, Clash Royale and Brawl Stars. Our goal is to make the best games – games that are played by as many people as possible, enjoyed for years and remembered forever.
In the summer of 2010, Supercell was born. Back then, the founders had no idea what the company would become. They just knew they wanted to make great games that people would play for years. To do so, they would create a new kind of gaming company.
Supercell was founded on a few core beliefs.
The best teams make the best games
We used this simple sentence to describe our idea of a new kind of games company that would put people front and center. We thought to ourselves: “What if you put together a games company the way you’d put together a professional sports team?” In that type of model, the sole mission of the founders and management would be to acquire the best talent for every single position, create the best possible environment for them, and then get out of the way. It would be an environment with zero bureaucracy. A place where the best people could make the biggest possible impact and nothing would stand in their way. Everything else, including financial goals, would be secondary. Over the years, we realised that even more important than having the best people is having the best teams – just as in sports, where World Cups and Championships are won by teams, not individuals.
Small and independent cells
We’ve found that the best quality work comes from small teams in which every member is passionate about what they do. Oftentimes when teams become bigger, processes, bureaucracy and even politics emerge, and the work just isn’t fun anymore. That’s why we wanted to create an organizational model made up of very small teams, or “cells” as we call them. Supercell is a collection of these cells. Each game comes from a cell, and they all operate extremely independently and have complete control over their own roadmap. Our organizational model is optimized for speed and passion, not for control.
Games that people will play for years
Many of us had been big fans of games like World of Warcraft, which most people play for years, not just weeks or months. Our dream was to create game services with longevity like that. And we wanted to create them for the widest group of people possible. They would be games that almost everyone could get into. The two core pillars around which we wanted to build this longevity would be game play and social. We believed in the power of simple, fun game play. Many of us even longed for the golden days of PC gaming when games were all about great game play. And when it comes to social, we just thought games would be more fun when played with friends and other people.
An important part of our original product vision, back in May 2010 when we got started, was the idea of building cross platform gaming services – games that you could log into and play from any device. But later on, our thinking changed completely. If you continue reading, you’ll see why. In short, today we believe that the best quality can only be achieved by focusing on one platform at a time.
Our initial funding came from the founders investing their savings into the company. On top of that, we borrowed as much money as we could from Tekes, the Finnish government’s technology funding arm.
Our first office was in Niittykumpu in Espoo, Finland. It was pretty far from Silicon Valley, but we had everything we needed: one 30-square-meter room, six desks we got from a recycling center, and of course a coffee maker. A bit later on, when we started to hire more people, we managed to fit 15 people to that little room. At some point there was no room for our CEO Ilkka anymore, so he had to move out.
Our first game was called Gunshine.net. It was a real-time massively multiplayer online role-playing game. Remember, our original vision was to create cross-platform gaming services, so the idea was that one day players would be able to enter the world of Gunshine via desktop web, Facebook, tablet and mobile. That said, we had to start from somewhere, and the most logical place was the platform with the widest reach. And at that time, that platform was desktop web and Facebook, so we started to build the game on top of Flash technology.
We managed to launch the private beta version of Gunshine in February 2011, and the open beta launched a few months later. We also started to plan a mobile/tablet version of the game. At its peak in the summer of 2011, Gunshine had around half a million monthly players.