Spent $12K On Clash Royale And For Good Reason
There are stereotypes that come to mind when you hear about the “whales” of mobile gaming who spend enormous amounts of money in order to try and become top players. Usually that they’re teenagers racking up credit card debt or addicted stay-at-home parents unwisely dumping money into a F2P slot machine. That’s the thought, anyway.
But not so when it comes to Clash Royale, and the top player in the world, Chief Pat. Supercell’s new battling game based on the Clash of Clans universe has rocketed to the top of the iOS and Android app charts the past few months, and Chief Pat sits atop the world as its king. For the time being, at least.
Pat revealed that he’s spent $12,000 on the game, despite the fact it’s only been out for a couple months. But that’s still not as much as the $18,000 that he’s poured into Supercell’s other title, Clash of Clans.
And yet, Chief Pat is not the stereotypical whale. In fact, his “investment” into both Clash of Clans and now Clash Royale is actually quite…smart?
The reason being is that Chief Pat is a big-time YouTuber, whose channel is almost entirely focused on those two Supercell games. As he explained in a recent reddit AMA (via Polygon), he has no regrets about spending that much on the game, given his occupation.
“I’ve never regretted it, because YouTube is my job,” he said. “It’s a business expense, and I gotta show off all the coolest shit for my subscribers, ya digg?”
But again, $30K across these two games? That still sound insane. But when you measure it against the strength and probable earnings of Pat’s channel, it’s actually a relative drop in the bucket.
Chief Pat has 1.74 million subscribers on his channel, and has seen dramatic growth recently with the release of Clash Royale in particular, according to SocialBlade, a site that tracks this sort of thing, and also measures potential income, based on analytics. Thanks to some idiotic April Fool’s joke, they’ve made these numbers impossible to read as I write this, but estimates likely put Pat at making anywhere from $25-40K a month with those kinds of numbers, for a mid-six figure yearly salary. Considering his entire channel is focused on these games, a $30,000 investment to help ensure he’s a top player is certainly worthwhile (though you obviously need some strategy to stay on top, not just good cards).
Pat also has some insights into the plight of the average players, saying that he agrees that the “free player” grind, ie. the game experience for those who don’t want to spend money, is problematic in Clash Royalein particular. He thinks that Supercell is aware of this, and will make some changes. Someone did some calculations, and apparently it would take about 22 years to “max out” your collection in Clash Royale, playing for free, something which Pat has done by spending $12K. That’s…not great, even for an industry where “encouraging” people to pay for microtransactions by having a long grind otherwise is standard.
I do like Supercell, because their popular games actually feel likegames, with some semblance of strategy and excitement to them, whether it’s Clash of Clan raids or Clash Royale battles. There’s some real skill involved in building your “army” and making sure it’s used effectively.
And yet, there’s a limit, and players can slam into walls left and right when trying to make progress at anything but ultra-low levels, thanks to the pay-to-win aspects of the game. Like, you will move up in rank inClash Royale if you buy enough cards and get a powerful enough deck as a result. So eventually, free players smash into paying players, and there’s really nothing they can do but get past that threshold but wait. This is opposed to say, Hearthstone, where creating a #1 in the world deck may cost anywhere from $0-100 worth of cards, but certainly nowhere near $12K. The game simply isn’t structured like that.
I’ve personally spent about $30 on Clash Royale in the few weeks I’ve played it. Given how much time I’ve spent with it, that seems like a fair investment. But it’s easy to see how the addicted might fork over hundreds or thousands of dollars, as that will make it rain cards and instantly increase their power level on the spot.
Chief Pat definitely has reason to invest $12K into a game like this, but I think there are fundamental structural problems with Clash Royalethat need addressing by Supercell, so as to not exhaust its playerbase. Then again, when you’re supposedly making $1.5 million a day, maybe you don’t change anything at all.