Is Clash Royale Dead? If Not, When?

Clash Royale has been a discussion topic amongst players on whether the game is still alive and doing well. I remember the crazy hype Clash Royale became in 2016 but the question still lies about its current situation.

Is Clash Royale dead? No, Clash Royale has over 100,000 concurrent players and any player can queue up for a match in seconds in any timezone and any time of the day. The game lost a lot of popularity in 2018 but the game’s player base and financial support are far from dead.

You may wonder why exactly isn’t Clash Royale dead. I’ll answer that question and also let you know when you can expect Clash Royale to be dead and what factors are needed for it to die out.

Why Isn’t Clash Royale Dead?

Clash Royale hasn’t died yet because of the steady updates released by Supercell in an attempt of keeping the game fresh. Although these updates fail to regain the popularity seen between 2016 to 2018, these updates have been satisfactory enough for the existing player base.

Other factors include the accessibility of the game in combination with its party-style feeling, the relationships built through the community-focused gameplay and the sunk-cost bias of highly invested players.

Above is the amount of Google searches of the term “Clash Royale”. Although this doesn’t give us a perfect idea of the player base of the game (I got my player base metrics from other sites), this provides a very realistic view of the peak years and decline of the game. For reference, 100 is the most the game was searched and 0 was when it wasn’t ever searched.

Let’s further dive into exactly what each of these elements is and what role they play in keeping Clash Royale alive for this long.

Consistent Updates

The biggest factor by far that kept Clash Royale alive is Supercell’s financial support with cool new updates and ways to play the game.

These updates include things such as new cards, legendary cards, new chests, new game modes, clan wars, clan war changes, new arenas, OP characters buffed to an insane amount (creating hype and influencer content), OP characters getting nerfed to a reasonable level (bringing the casual players back and changing up player’s decks) and much much more.

These updates are also partly the key to help boost the game back to previous popularity. That said, Supercell has failed to get them right enough and at this point of the game’s shelf-life, going back to the golden era of Clash Royale seems to be a pipe dream at this point.

That revival prediction was clearly wrong haha. Image found from r/ClashRoyale by u/ShadowPlagueXx

Take for example this YouTuber who saw the update, created a video on it and likely brought more hype and desire to play with his viewers.

Accessibility

Another factor that has helped Clash Royale alive is its accessibility factor. Unlike a game like League of Legends, you don’t have to keep a 10 GB game file on your computer that updates every 2 weeks and requires you to sit in front of your computer to play for 20-50 mins, otherwise leaving midgame will result in a 2-week ban.

Clash Royale can be played from anywhere at any time. You can play it while you are waiting for someone to pick you up from the airport, the coffee shop, on the bus or even camping (if you have signal). It doesn’t use a lot of bandwidth, only updates once a month (starting 2021, updates only once every 3 months now), the games are 3 minutes long and leaving early has no repercussions.

Overall, this is a formula for a game I can always see myself playing when I’m out and about and just plain bored. This creates casual players that won’t keep the game alive financially, but it still probably makes up about 50-70% of the player base. They also provide enough incentive to the 20-30% of players that make up the majority of Supercell’s revenue to keep playing.

Party-Style Game

When I used to play the game, it’s stuck on you like a sore thumb. I’d get on like every 2 to 3 hours (however long the chest unlocking period was) to open a chest and play another game to get a new one.

I’d also play just for the gold even when I had all chest slots full, but I’d try not to miss out on opening and getting a new chest whenever the unlocking process was complete.

This creates a sort of addiction to opening the chests; studies show that a chance of reward increase dopamine releases instead of a guaranteed reward.

This creates a game to be more addictive and is based on models from casinos that thrive off of addictions. Because when you open the chest, it could be another spear goblin or a princess, you never know and that’s what hooks you in.

Not to mention the element of making you feel like you are “losing out” by not getting the next chest on the unlocking process the moment the other one is done (even though the game honestly has no impact on life and most players are already maxed out).

Even though the game is an RTS (real-time strategy) game, it can come off as a sort of party game you can play throughout the day and just have 3 minutes of fun whenever you want.

Clan Communities and Relationships

Clash Royale, just like their prior success Clash of Clans, is composed and partly built around having clans. Although Clash Royale has a much smaller focus on clans than Clash of Clans ever did, the focus is still there and still can be fairly big for the players that make it as such.

It creates a place of acceptance, friendships, memories and a community. As social creatures, that’s exactly what we are looking for and the game publishers know it.

For a small portion of the community, it’s hard to move on from the game just because of the relationships and friendships that were created and present on the game.

These relationships can be enough to keep players longer than they would have otherwise.

I remember a clan I had in Clash Royale back in like 2015 was like the only reason I still played and probably stuck to the game a year longer than I should have.

Sunk-Cost Bias

Lastly, a big stickler for some is their sunk cost bias towards the game. This primarily affects players that either have invested a massive amount of their free time or a decent amount of money (and when I say decent, I mean like good wads of money) that they feel like if they leave the game that it would all go to waste.

Although the sunk-cost bias doesn’t tend to keep players forever, it does make players who have made these investments continuously give the game a “second chance” and try to keep them entertained.

This further affects players who are on the top tier of the game as they also get that rush for being so good and practicing that much. To leave the game means losing all the time into practicing and training… and being, well.. great!

When Will Clash Royale Become Dead?

According to historical data, Clash Royale is estimated to become dead in 2027. This estimation is impacted on the diversity in future updates, the publisher’s decision to discontinue support for the game and if the top influencers leave the game.

We can make this prediction based on the history of the game’s popularity and comparing it to the popularity of a game like Clash of Clans.

See what I did there, Tomb Stone image for calling Clash Royale dead 😉

Let’s talk a bit about why this is the case and if Clash Royale will die in 2022.

Why Will Clash Royale Become Dead in 2027?

Clash Royale has been going on a slight decline since 2017 and the game has failed to bring back that popularity.

Not to mention Supercell has made the decision this year to release big quarterly updates instead of their typical monthly, which honestly sounds like a mistake considering their history of hit-and-miss updates.

With that said, Clash Royale still has enough steam to keep the game going. But as time goes on, taking into account updates and changes, the game shouldn’t be alive any longer than 2027.

When we call the game dead, I’m basing it on the idea that the game will have a significant reduction in the player base to the point where games take time to queue up and Supercell stop seeing the game as a significant source of revenue.

That isn’t to say that there will be no players, because the game still will have players just based on the nature of the game. It’s just it will be very much acknowledged as lonesome and dead.

Will Clash Royale Become a Dead Game in 2022?

No, Clash Royale won’t become a dead game in 2022. With currently 100,000 concurrent players and a very slow steady decline of that player base, Clash Royale won’t die out in 2022.

The truth is the player base is just way too big for the game to even come close to being dead. Even if Supercell was to announce that they will stop support for the game, the game will still have a thriving community for the remainder of that year (and Supercell wouldn’t cut support next year for sure based on their support for the game and their efforts in 2021).

As long as they keep good updates, the game should see the overall same life and player base for next year and even the subsequent year.

If you look at the popularity graph above, you can see how slight the decline is, it’s just very impossible to argue that the game will die out in 2022 or even 2023.

After about 2024-2025, with technological advancements and likely a large portion of game publishers investing in mobile gaming, due to mobile gaming’s insanely lucrative business model, Clash Royale will start to hit the sidelines as a relic of the past. 2027 should be the year it’s officially deemed as dead.

How Will Clash Royale Die?

Gameplay Getting Stale

As we mentioned before, updates have been the cornerstone of the game staying alive. Updates keep the game from becoming stale, creates new metas and ways to play.

Some updates really missed the mark and felt like they were added just to have an update. Those would be more visual changes or making the same type of changes over and over again.

If it didn’t affect gameplay or the overall feel of Clash Royale enough for players to want to come back, they just didn’t.

A lot of the updates too are centered around making Supercell more money, which is fine, but don’t expect those types of updates to keep the game feeling fresh. An example of that was the Magic Update.

This video below does an amazing job documenting how each update corresponds to an increase or decrease in the search volume of the game (which we can presume has a correlation to the game’s player base).

Other Similar Games Take Over

Remember how I talked about accessibility and the party-style of the game being 2 big factors why the game hasn’t died yet.

Well, since 2016 the mobile sector gaming industry has been making more money than the PC, console and handheld sectors combined. Currently, mainly Tencent and smaller figureheads like Supercell dominate the market, but that’s soon to change.

The mobile gaming scene is just way too lucrative for individuals to not come into the scene. What Supercell had behind their game was the hype that was brought from recycling their Clash of Clans brand and characters to this game.

But if another big publisher can get the mobile RTS card game style right the same way or even better than Supercell did, it will directly compete with the game with a youth advantage.

This could cripple any possible growth for Clash Royale and increase the swiftness of the game’s death.

Supercell Stops Investing in the Game and Community

This would be the biggest determinate factor of a game being dead. Although it doesn’t seem that Supercell is close to cut off the game as it still generates a significant amount of revenue.

However, perhaps in the near future if this was to occur as they looked to invest all their focus in a bigger and better project, this would signify the death of the game. Within 2 to 3 months, the game’s player base will significantly tank.

After about 9 months to a year, the game’s player base will become just a small niche players.

We saw something similar happen to the game Arena of Valor, a mobile MOBA game created by Tencent. Once Riot Games announced the development of the League of Legends: Wild Rift, their parent company, Tencent, also announced that they will discontinue support for their old MOBA, Arena of Valor, to focus on the success of this one.

As a result, the game didn’t instantly die out but as months progress and no changes were made, the player base really stopped getting new players and almost entirely was just slowly killing off the more casual players. This leaves behind the committed community which soon will start to leave the following year and onwards.

Massive Balance and Match-Making Issues Persist

Supercell recently announced that they will only make quarterly updates instead of monthly updates to reduce delays, bugs and ensure balancing doesn’t go into complete wack.

This was a bold decision by Supercell, considering if a problem from their patch exclusive of bugs come out, such as a massive balancing error or nightmare, they won’t even attempt to change it until 3 months, let alone fixing the problem outright could take an additional patch or 2 (basically a whole year to fix 1 patching nightmare).

Match-making is another massive sticking point for players, as match-making is fairly unbalanced and Supercell hasn’t been able to quench the thirst for the complaining players.

As this persists, the game will become more and more dead.

Influencers Abandoning the Game

Although this isn’t a factor that will lead to the game’s death, it will speed it up. Since 2014, influencers have really made a major impact on keeping games relevant for longer and keep their hype going.

Honestly, Clash Royale hasn’t been doing too bad in the world of YouTube and Twitch. In 2020 and 2021, they have seen some hiccups such as Team Liquid withdrawing general support into the game as the CRL switches to a player-based focus and their star player, Surgical Goblin, calling quits from the game to retire the year prior.

If things like this persist and Supercell keeps making the wrong moves, the game will die out sooner than they hoped.