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The Cell Structure: How Supercell Turned the Traditional Org-Chart Upside Down


Ilkka Paananen (CEO, Supercell)

Location: Room 3016, West Hall

Date: Wednesday, March 21

Time: 9:30am - 10:30am

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference - Get your pass now!

Topic: Vision, Production & Team Management

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: All

Supercell is built on a unique culture. At the core of this culture is the idea of small and independent game development teams that are called "cells". These cells operate completely independently, one could describe them as their own independent companies inside the larger company. So far, despite their small size, these cells have launched 4 games that have each been in the Top 10 charts for years during their lifetimes. In this session, Supercell's CEO Ilkka Paananen will dig into the lessons he's learned as a founder, sharing his experience from building Supercell, a company that has been structured in a fundamentally different way. After years of leading companies that were structured like most games companies, with management owning the vision and having creative control, he came to realize that games are a form of art, created by talented, creative people and that games businesses need to be structured in a way that allows them to flourish. Supercell turned the traditional top-down org chart upside down, giving the games teams the independence and full autonomy to design games, lead projects and have the final say on whether Supercell launches or kills a game.


In this presentation you will get deep insight into the learnings of building a company culture that lets the developers run their teams independently. Learn why Supercell has placed people at the heart of the company, hiring the best people who form the best teams, and creating the best environment to design the best games. You will also learn about the challenges of this model.

Intended Audience

Game developers, studio leads and game company founders.