The mobile gaming space has gone through a remarkable series of evolutions. Ever since that historic day when Apple launched its first App Store enabled device, a whole new market opened up; one that gamers didn’t believe was going to succeed.
Mobile gaming not only became a haven for casual gamers but also converted many non-gamers into die-hards.
This is all thanks to the simple bite-sized gameplay casual mobile games offer. Hypercasual games are the next big trend in the mobile gaming space.
These tiny morsels of gaming goodness represent the ultimate quick fix experience. Tap-and-play instant access, easy to understand the gameplay, and no added bells and whistles. The hypercasual gaming experience mantra is getting straight to the heart of things. With people being busier than ever, the instant conclusion is that hypercasual games are the future of mobile game development. Let’s examine that hypothesis.
Show Me the Money
Hypercasual games revenue is primarily generated through ads. It’s both poetic and fitting when you take into account its simplicity coupled with how much hypercasual games scale. Playrix, one of the big players in the space, had over $1 billion in revenue back in 2019.
Even though their income from ads was quite low compared to IAP revenue, Playrix takes a strong position among high-earning hypercasual developers.
A particularly powerful tool in the hypercasual games ad toolbox is rewarded videos. These ads grant players rewards, such as added game time and other goodies, in exchange for watching short clips. Aside from the big bump in revenue, devs also see an increase in player retention.
To further maximize hypercasual games revenue, developers make heavy use of cross-promotional work. This exposes players to even more apps companies have on offer and keeps them in their ecosystems. As a result, their games scale further which equals more ad revenue.
It’s a simple model that demands little upkeep on the developer’s part. This is a particularly strong point for new dev teams who are entering the scene and likely can’t afford a dedicated marketing team.
Open to All?
Speaking of fresh developers, the rapidity and ease of building and launching hypercasual games is another point in their favor. Typical game development begins with a core concept for its gameplay.
After that has been tested and solidified, devs work on the bells and whistles. As hypercasual games don’t require any extra modes, background stories, or bonus activities, this cuts down significantly on development time. As a result, costs are also cut making the price for entry into the market quite low. The main barrier here is market saturation.
As more and more dev teams enter the hypercasual space, a growing number of apps get lost in the noise. In turn, companies have to start considering their ad bidding strategy quite heavily which carries its own set of risks.
Bid too low and your game may never see the light of day. Bid too high and the overhead savings become a moot point. One possible avenue for salvation in the case of budding hypercasual games dev teams are influencers and streaming.
An uncommon approach to mobile advertising is the key to success in hypercasual
Eyes on You
Game streaming and gaming influencers are both powerful tools for building exposure. When a game has a simple concept that is fast-paced and easy to understand, it becomes highly watchable. The more people watch a particular game being played live, the more that game gains attention.
As hypercasual games revenue is heavily reliant on ad revenue, particularly through rewarded videos, streaming influencers can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, players may feel compelled to play while watching their favorite internet star.
On the other, ads during live broadcasts can be disruptive. Devs may need to consider this point when deciding to sponsor influencers in exchange for promoting their hypercasual games.
The bottom line is simple. Hypercasual games aren’t a new concept and have only grown exponentially over the past few years. Their simple gameplay focus couple with the hands-off approach to generating revenue makes them appealing to both devs and gamers alike.
The question is how their narrow focus in a fickle market space affects their sustainability as a means to build a new studio with fresh ideas.