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Supercell profits slump amid wait for new games

The game developer's profits fell by more than a quarter in 2018.

Ilkka Paananen
CEO Ilkka Paananen with 'The Barbarian' from the game Clash of Clans. Image: Mauri Ratilainen / EPA

Mobile game company Supercell's results took a dive last year. The firm's operating profit shrank to 537 million euros from the previous year's 729 million euros, a drop of 26 percent. Turnover slipped to 1.37 billion, compared to 1.8 billion in 2017.

Last year's profits are nearly all based on the company's four old games and updates to them, said Supercell CEO Ilkka Paananen.

"Profit of more than half a billion euros is a good accomplishment for a company with less than 300 employees and whose latest game was released three years ago," he said in Helsinki on Tuesday.

The company's main cash cows are still the games Clash of Clans and Clash Royale, which together accounted for turnover of more than 10 billion dollars.

"One important milestone last year was that each of our four games has now exceeded a billion dollars in sales," Paananen remarked.

Established in Helsinki in 2010, the game developer has offices in San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai and Tokyo.

New release in China by summer?

The company began to roll out its fifth game, Brawl Stars, in December, so it does not show up the 2018 results.

Paananen noted that it did however become the most-downloaded game in countries such as Japan and South Korea.

"Throughout history, Asian markets have been difficult to conquer for Western game developers," he observed.

The firm hopes to launch the new title on the Chinese market by next summer at the latest. It has been delayed by a new permit system that China adopted last year, Paananen said.

China has been one of the biggest markets for Clash Royale, and Chinese investment giant Tencent holds an 88 percent stake in Supercell.

So far Brawl Stars has been downloaded about 80 million times worldwide.

This year the firm also plans to release major updates to two older games, Boom Beach and Hay Day.

"Of course we are always developing new games. It's realistic to say that a couple of them will get to the testing stage this year," Paananen said.

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