November 19, 2021
Unlike other game genres, hyper casual games are quick to build and quicker to play. Players typically squeeze in a few seconds or a few minutes of gameplay, so developers need to find ways to fit complete gameplay loops and provide a sense of accomplishment in those narrow windows. Then it’s on to the next game, for most players, so mobile game companies need to be able to offer other fun and easy hyper casual games that keep users in the family.
In this complete guide, we’ll go over the basics of hyper casual games, including the category’s distinguishing features, the secrets to hyper casual success, and the hyper casual leaders to learn from.
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Between 2019 and 2020, the hyper casual games market climbed from 7.8 billion downloads to 11.8 billion. Hyper casual’s rapid growth has captured the industry’s attention, and for good reason; in today’s market, it’s estimated that hyper casual games earn as much as $3 billion in annual revenue. We can trace the spike in hyper casual’s popularity back to changes in the core demographic of mobile gamers today.
Instead of the stereotype (young, male, and extremely dedicated to gaming) that once ruled the scene, the majority of today’s mobile game players are women and many are over the age of 45. With demographic changes came behavior changes that pushed the industry into hyper casual games’ arms: most mobile gamers now play while multitasking, instead of parking in front of a screen and playing a game as the day’s primary activity.
One of the distinguishing features of the hyper casual games category is its monetization model. While in-app purchases (IAP) were the most popular method up until about 2013, hyper casual games combined that existing IAP strategy with in-app ad monetization. Instead of relying on a narrow segment of high-value users that were hard to develop and expensive to acquire, hyper casual games monetize the entire user base for a more consistent and reliable revenue stream.
Hyper casual games also often use installs-per-mille as their main advertising performance metric, allowing developers in the category to invest in high-performing creative elements in appealing formats (like rewarded and playable ads) that deliver impressive results.
Using installs-per-mille as a primary advertising performance metric also encourages game companies to invest in dynamic creative and results-oriented interactive ad formats. In addition, publishers can lean into the new norm of hyper casual gaming behavior to cross-promote games within their portfolio, maximizing the value of individual users by spreading their attention across multiple games.
Ready to learn more about the state of the hyper casual games market, opportunities for profitability, and the future of the gaming industry? Check out our full post: “How Big Is The Hyper Casual Games Market.”
Hyper casual games typically feature simple, minimalistic designs and repetitive gameplay that players can understand immediately. Hyper casual players should feel like they’ve accomplished something, even if they only spend a couple of minutes playing while waiting for another activity to start.
The fact that many hyper casual games look alike is actually part of their appeal; it makes it easier for players to bounce between games without having to reacclimate to new designs or relearn new rules. That’s why many hyper casual games use replicable design elements instead of placing a premium on originality. Because most players dip in and out of hyper casual games for short stints, they’re unlikely to notice the kind of design details that are critical in other game categories.
While you shouldn’t copy another game’s design, you should definitely take inspiration from other successful titles. That’s also true when it comes to game mechanics; hyper casual games need to be easy for players to understand without an in-depth tutorial or instruction manual, so replicating the category’s preferred game mechanics is an effective strategy. Game mechanics like stacking, merging, rising and falling, swerving, or timed tapping are all popular.
Although you’ll likely need some coding skills to build out an impressive hyper casual game portfolio, it’s not a requirement to get started. Engines like Buildbox and Construct 3 allow you to use intuitive interfaces to assign roles to art assets (that you can import or buy) so that you can launch your first game without any code at all. Don’t forget to incorporate a monetization strategy that combines the best applications of banner and interstitial ads with tried and true in-app purchases and playable or rewarded ads.
Interested in more details about the decisions that publishers should consider when creating a hyper casual game? Read our full post: “How To Make Hyper Casual Games.”
This step-by-step guide will help mobile game studios and publishers develop new titles and launch into the hyper casual games space.
Ready to put these steps to work at your mobile publishing studio? Check out our guide: “Hyper Casual Games Development: The Complete Checklist.”
As the hyper casual category has grown exponentially in recent years, certain studios have risen to the top of the heap. Here are the eight publishers that are topping the charts and pushing the hyper casual category to new heights in 2021:
Learn more about these pioneering publishers in our full article on “8 Hyper Casual Publishers Every Game Designer Should Know.”
Hyper casual games are growing more and more popular, and advertising costs in the category are falling fast. As a publisher, making the most of your hyper casual portfolio takes an experienced partner that knows how to turn your top titles into real results. Moloco’s proprietary platform leverages machine learning technology to turn first-party data into sustainable business growth, enabling us to help mobile publishers acquire valuable users and earn revenue through data-driven campaign optimization. Ready to learn more about achieving your hyper casual game goals? Get in touch today.
By looking at spending trends stretching as far back as 2020, we can begin to understand how the industry has evolved so far and what to potentially expect for the rest of the year and beyond.
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