He Spent $9000 On A Mobile Game … How?

Mobile games make money in two ways, Ads or In-App purchases. Most people not associated with the business of mobile games don’t realize only 3% of players ever spend money on the game, even if they play for years.

SuperCell is no different, makers of Clash of Clans, launched Clash Royale in January 2016. As in all their games, they focus only on In-App Purchases. As a game designer and player of the game, the economy and psychology of this game has fascinated me.

I was curious.

How much could a player spend ifthey were to just buy all the cards from the store?

If you are unfamiliar with the game, it works like this. Players choose from over 60 characters to make a deck of eight. Going against a live opponent, the player has to use those eight characters to destroy their opponent’s towers. The player who destroys more towers wins.

So, how could a player spend $9000 in this game? Players have the ability to upgrade their characters. If the player has enough of the same card then they can upgrade. Upgrading a card is critical to the success of beating another player. If your cards out rank theirs, then their is a higher likelihood you will win.

For example: To go from level 10 to 11 a player needs a total of 1000 common cards.

Cards needed to upgrade

Players have the ability to buy these cards in order to level them up. At arena level 10(the highest arena in the game) the prices shown below are the minimum amout you would spend, in coins, to buy that character card.

Typical store page

Once a player buys a card the price goes up. This system is complicated, so let’s keep the math simple. In our example, player’s have full reign to buy as many cards as they want. They also buy them at the base price, cost never increases.

Purchase Criteria

  • Common — 2 coins
  • Rare — 20 coins
  • Epic — 1000 coins
  • Legendary — 40,000 coins

Coins aren’t that difficult to get in the game, but they can be purchased in the store with Gems. Gems are purchase with real money.

Costs

  • 14000 Gems — $100 USD.
  • 100,000 coins — 4500 Gems.
  • 100,000 coins — worth $32 USD.

Note: This is the price for the most economical purchase, if you were to buy the $.99 package of gems (worth 80 Gems) 100,000 coins would cost $56 USD.

Card Breakdown

  • 68 cards (18 Common, 20 Rare, 20 Epic, 10 Legendary)
  • 232,416 cards needed to max level (18 x 9587, 20 x 2587, 20 x 387, 10 x 37)
  • 12,491,250 coins needed to upgrade all of these cards.

Price Per Card

  • Common — $0.0006
  • Rare — $0.006
  • Epic — $0.32
  • Legendary — $12.85 USD
Store with associated pricing.

Buying & Upgrading All The Cards

  • Common (172566)— $540
  • Rare (51740) — $809
  • Epic (7740)— $2962
  • Legendary (370)— $4982
  • TOTAL = $9294 USD

I was shocked that a player could spend over $9000 to get every card in the game. Fortunately, the game is designed in a way that it gives back to the players for showing up and playing, by rewarding the player with chest that contain cards. Chests are earned at differing rates, but they have their own associated value.

Value of Chests

  • Free Chest — $0.06
  • Silver Chest — $0.05
  • Golden Chest — $0.17
  • Crown Chest — $0.41
  • Magical Chest — $1.54
  • Giant Chest — $1.38
  • Super Magical — $10.57 USD

Note: These numbers assume every card not guaranteed is a common card. Add $12.85 if you get a legendary card.

Positive Gem Trade

  • Legendary Chest — 500 gems (Cost $3.57) ; Value $12.85
  • Epic Chest — 10,000 coins (Cost $3.21); Value $6.42

Negative Gem Trade

  • Super Magic Chest — 4600 gems(Cost $32.85); Value $10.57 [with legendary ($23.42) still Negative Gem Trade]
  • Magical Chest — 800 gems ( Cost $5.71); Value $1.54 [with Legendary ($14.39) Positive Gem Trade]
  • Giant Chest — 490 gems (Cost $3.49); Value ($1.39)

Legendary Card Value

You can buy up to three Legionaries every day.

  • 12.85 (40,000 coins)
  • 25.70 (80,000 coins)
  • 38.55 (120,000 coins)
  • TOTAL = $77.10 USD

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed the break down of the financial economy of SuperCells’s game Clash Royale. I am a huge fan of SuperCell. I love their mentality in designing games and I actually enjoy the games they create. I am equally impressed with how they are able to use behavior constructs to encourage players to play their games while also building an incredible culture for the player.

To the players:

Spend more money in mobile games! Many people feel like spending money in a game is embarrassing, “I can’t believe you spent money on that.” Yet we spend thousands of dollars on entertainment every year. Games are not cheap to produce. If you like the content of the game, please reward the developers by making a purchase. We all need it :-)

To SuperCell: Thank you for making great games. Please fix the amount of money awarded for donating Epic Cards to players.

  • Common — Purchase 2 coins — Donate 5 coins (+3 positive trade)
  • Rare — Purchase 20 coins — Donate 50 coins (+30 positive trade)
  • Epic — Purchase 1000 coins — Donate 500 coins (-500 negative trade) [ based on the previous math it should be Donate 2500 coins (+2000 positive trade)

Thank you for reading. I hope being able to understand the cost breakdown for Clash Royale was as enjoyable to read as it was to create. If you have suggestions on other things I should look into, please ask.