Hypercasual games to rule them all
Over the past few years, casual & hypercasual games have experienced a dramatic growth; they dominate the top of the App store and Google Play Store.
For instance, the 2 biggest publishers of this market, Voodoo and Ketchapp, launched about 85 games in 2017 alone. Voodoo’s games accounted for 24.7% of all free downloads and has published more than 15 games that have reached the Top 20 in the App Store since 2016. With Goldman Sachs’ $200M investment in the giant hypercasual publisher Voodoo, it is set to carry on.
Indeed, this market is very lucrative: Venturebeat estimates the approximate market for hypercasual games to be of $2 billion to $2.5 billion in annual revenue.
In one word: it is a huge spot in the gaming sector, with hundreds of million generated every year.
So, what are these games that crush everything else? Why are they successful? And how do you get money from them?
Hypercasual games, whatzat?
Hypercasual games are games that everyone can play and understand easily (yes, even your dog Rex), as such they are/have:
- Understandable in 10 seconds
- Minimalist controls; often playable with one finger
- Simple goals
- Mass-market themes, like cars, food, or soccer
- Instant fun! The game has to start right away
- Few or no tutorials
- Wide audience
- Compatible with low-ends devices, to reach the most players as possible
- Small build size; Ideally below 100Mb
Because hypercasual games are very simple, they are instantly playable and replayable; consequently they are as addictive as chocolate, and engaging. You can play it anytime and anywhere: in the bus, in the car, outside while waiting for someone or during a particularly annoying movie.
Hypercasual games, a great opportunity for developers
As you will have realized, hypercasual games represent a huge opportunity for developers.
These games can be developed fast with low human and development cost compared to other type of games. Furthermore, you can reach billions of users and appeal to the masses thanks to the universal themes and easiness of games.
How to make a good hypercasual game — Tips
Now, time to make your own hypercasual game and dominate the market!
Here are few tips concocted by our squad, specialized in hypercasual mobile games. Just for you.
# Tip 1 — Play!
Needless to say, you need to study. A lot. Playing hypercasual games allows you to understand main mechanics, how it works, why it is appealing, why people play it, and so on.
Check the App store on daily basis and check the top free games. The majority are hypercasual. Try them all, test them. Pay attention to mechanics, theme, game’s goal & reviews. Immerse yourself in the world of hypercasual games: you will fully understand what makes a hypercasual game by playing them regularly. You will be also able to identify your competitors’ strategy.
# Tip 2 — Get inspiration from the most performing games
There are many hypercasual games in the App store. It can be difficult to find ideas, right? But if you studied well, you surely noticed that many high ranked games are very similar to each other, if not identical. Actually, many of the most profitable and famous games are just a “remake” of a previous game. Angry Bird for example, is a “remake” of a previous game with similar mechanics. Crossy Road, is similar to “Frogger”, published in 80s.
So, you need to study again. Take the top free games, and reinvent the ones you find interesting. Don’t just copy them of course. Find the game’s USP (Unique Selling Point), and do a game with your own gameplay, your artistic touch, graphics, and assets.
# Tip 3— Make it addictive
Needless to say, your goal is to encourage players to keep playing your game. You need to create an irresistible “addictive loop”. It is basically a chain of actions repeated.
For example, let’s take the hypercasual game “Snake Blast!”, a game with excellent ratings, many downloads, and well ranked in the arcade category.
The goal of the game is to destroy blocks with your snake by firing balls at them. Entertaining & fun, but you need to add something to make it even better and addictive by including something positive to earn to make players come back more often: coins.
So, when you achieve a level, you earn coins. These coins allow you to unlock cool skins for your snake. Which gives you the loop:
Play -> Earn coins -> Spend coins -> Replay to earn more coins to unlock skins -> ∞
Here, you have an addictive game thanks to a chain of actions as the main flow of players experience.
# Tip 4 — Speak to a wide audience
As I said before, casual & hypercasual games have to speak to the most people as possible.
Therefore, it is essential to choose evocative, simple & global themes. Do not settle your game in a specific universe that would touch a niche or a specific market, like spaceships or mangas.
Choose general themes and elements that anyone knows, no matter the place, age, or gender, such as hamburgers, cakes, cars, cats, or slides.
Likewise, it is important to opt for very simple graphics, easily understandable. Special art direction is attractive and differentiating, but it can easily scare users away because it seems complicated.
Taking general themes & graphics will allow you to have lower acquisition costs. Since users are familiar with those, they will be more inclined to download the game and keep playing it. So your costs will be low and retention high on Day 1.
How to monetize hypercasual games
As we said earlier, hypercasual games are free, and as they are ultra simple, they cannot have a complex economic system. So, hypercasual games’ revenue relies on ads.
It is therefore important to pick a format that will allow you to generate the maximum of revenue, depending on several factors, like session length, your games mechanics, or the number of sessions.
You can have a complete and professional strategy and follow-up for your game’s marketing from professionals for free here.
You have 3 main different types of ads:
- Rewarded Video
The format which yields the most money per impression. A rewarded video is an ad players can choose to watch in order to get something. For instance, in case of a game over, the game offers the player to watch an ad in order to revive. Other example, in case of a win, the game can offer the player to double his earnings by watching an ad. It’s the most rewarding format because it is not intrusive and it increases session length, as well as retention. It is a win-win: players receive an extra reward or an extra life, and you receiving money from it thanks to the ad, as well as an increased retention, engagement and session length.
These ads are the most delicate to implement and should require a considered strategy, in order to not drown your users under ads and make them leave.
You have the choice between 3 different interstitials:
- Static: A simple “image”
- Playable: The user can interact with the ad and play it.
Then, once you chose your format, you have to decide how many times you want to show ads per second, if you want to include a skip button and if it is the case, you need to decide after how long you want to make it appear.
These ads simply appear at the bottom of the screen during a game. The user can click on it if he/she is interested.
You can have a deeper explanation about ads format and how to implement them with this presentation, from “ Casual Connect Europe 2018” (Nadav Ashkenazy).
How to monetize your game easily and effectively
Choosing an appropriate monetizing strategy is essential to get revenues from your games. Yet, it is not that easy: you need to take into account many factors in order to not push away your users by showing too many ads while getting enough revenues to sustain.
Our video game studio Advenworks is specialized in casual & hypercasual games. Therefore, we are specialized in ads monetization and User Acquisition.
We offer to help developers publish their games while taking care of their monetization and advertising.
You are an indie developer, you want to publish your casual/hypercasual game and get revenue from it in the most quick and effective way?
We can help. Learn more here.
Proofreading: Estee Lee-Mountel, Writer @Advenworks