Creating inspiring brands.

Clash of Clans – why am I hooked on this game?

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I’m not a person who enjoys playing video games all the time. Of course I used to play it as a kid, but these days I really find it a waste of time. Still, while going home from work or just waiting for somebody, I needed something to keep me entertained for couple of minutes because my music list just wouldn’t cut it any more. I have previously seen Clash of Clans advertisement starring Liam Neesson and immediately I liked it, so I decided to download it from app store. Before I knew it, I was hooked.

Recently, while on vacation, I caught myself thinking why am I playing this game for the last two years?

I remember being drawn by these funny characters taking me back to childhood. A world of giants, goblins, barbarians, archers, wizards and dragons would appear at the palm of my hand every time I opened the game. It made me feel childishly unburdened and somehow free because it provided me an easy escape from boring everyday moments. But what really triggered my interest is the strategic component of the game. Clash of Clans is based on defending your own and attacking the opponents village. Successful attacks earns you loot, which is then used to upgrade your village. Every battle is different, so it takes practice to do it right. You need to put an effort to think about your tactics – what troops to choose in order to break the opponent’s defense and how to set up your village for better defense. The game was so addictive that I convinced myself it isn’t a waste of time. Instead, I looked at it as a brain exercise and a way to improve my cognitive abilities. Higher the game level, higher the involvement. Above all, great thing about the game is its social component. You can join clans with other people from all over the world. In my case, it enabled me to have fun with my friends. Game chat helped us share experiences and knowledge so we could improve our game. Very soon our clan had 50 members. Consisted of people of different age and professions, we were united in a mission of becoming the best clan in the country. Currently, we are 15th in Croatia.

Clash of Clans is a free-to-play game and is using revenue model known as “Freemium”. This cleverly thought strategy from SuperCell makes them one of the most successful mobile gaming companies. Basically the model works on exploiting players’ impatience. It takes a lot of resources and time to upgrade your buildings and troops. Sometimes up to 2 weeks. You can boost it with gems to shorten the time and make the game more enjoyable, but it will cost you real money. Clash of Clans reported $1.56 million in earnings per day in 2015, showing just how much are people impatient to progress further in game.

The real reason why their strategy is so efficient is because they made the game so appealing that everyone can find something in the game to hold on to. SuperCell succeeded in making a game simple enough for older and busier players and sophisticated enough for tech savvy youngsters. Both art style and difficulty of the game, which is challenging enough, seems to be appealing to players of any age. The game is always available – it can be played wherever you are, for 5 minutes or longer periods of time, while being in touch with your clan mates all the time. Competitiveness of the game is achieved through top clans and players rankings, so you literally can be the best player in the world. Most importantly, this game is always evolving. Every upgrade finished, leaves you with a feeling of accomplishment making it even more addictive. Thus, new levels are being added which include new items and characters that are waiting to be upgraded.

Let’s get back to branding! Clash of Clans is a great example of how to successfully build a brand community. In this fast moving world, people seek new ways of establishing social connections and there is no better way than give it to them on the palms of their hands. As the time goes by, relations between people in the game become closer and closer. So what in the beginning was an escape from everyday routine, transformed into a sense of belonging. Players find their role in the game and they have something to “fight” for. That is a powerful combination. In the end, it doesn’t really matter if you are a kid, grown up, busy professional or stay at home parent – you are going to get hooked.

The most successful brands always try to create that special place that “gets you into the character” and are able to ignite such passion of their consumers that it literally becomes a way of life. In the case of my clan, it didn’t go as far as that, but it broke the online barrier, so every now and then we meet for a drink or clan barbecue. This is, you have to admit, quite an achievement for a mobile game.

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