· 6 min read

5 Reasons Game Devs Should Start Making Hyper-casual Games

Want to start making games? But where should you start? Hyper-casual is a good option. Our friends at TapNation explain why.

Editor’s note: This article was originally crafted by TapNation. If you fancy reading the original, you can find it here

It’s no secret that creating a game can be pricey. Hiring a strong development team is just the start of your journey. Aside from the months (even years) of developing a game, when you start focusing on your marketing and ongoing user acquisition campaigns, the expenses and costs can pile on (before you’ve had a chance to make any revenue). Making it near impossible for smaller dev teams to enter the market.

Hyper-casual is changing that. These games are turning into a developer’s stepping stone into kick starting their career in the gaming industry.  Without the need for large initial investments.

And to get a better idea of how the hyper-casual genre can help game makers enter the professional world of gaming, we’ve rounded up our top 5 reasons in this blog.

Let’s get started.

1) It’s easier to develop and produce hyper-casual games

Due to how simple hyper-casual games are, they’re a much easier option for any dev looking to make a game for the first time. Incredibly small teams can produce a large number of prototypes every month; testing mechanics and aesthetics to see how players react as a part of the initial phases of production.

This genre focuses on minimalism, shrinking development cycles down to a matter of days. Rather than spending years on a huge project with no guarantee of success, hyper-casual games give developers the space to quickly iterate and gauge the market potential of a game early on.

Keep in mind, hyper-casual games need to have clear and simple mechanics

As a general rule of thumb, hyper-casual developers should avoid making the gameplay too complicated. You’ll want to limit everything to two mechanics at most. Your game has to be simple from the onset, making it more accessible to more people and also easier to program.

Here are a few examples of some of the core mechanics hyper-casual developers often choose from when creating a new game:

  • Rise & Fall
  • Tap/timing
  • Dexterity
  • Merging
  • Pushing
  • Puzzle

Take Teeth Runner! as an example. This is a great example of the tap/timing mechanic. SImple to start, and slowly gets more challenging.

2) They’re cost-effective and budget sensitive

Hyper-casual games focus on simple mechanics and quick development cycles, tending towards smaller budgets and more cost-effective results than other genres. Money can sometimes be an issue when work first begins on a new game, but with hyper-casuals that hurdle is removed.

You don’t need a huge team

Which reduces the costs greatly. Hyper-casual games also tend to avoid traditional advertising and their expensive TV and radio spots. Social media and platforms like Google and Facebook are not only more affordable, they also provide more data and precise targeting for a larger potential audience.

It’s getting easier to advertise online

Hyper-casual relies heavily on ad revenue. And it’s getting easier and easier to set this up and optimize your campaigns. Granted, the new updates from Apple on iOS 14.5 have thrown a spanner into the mix. But there are tools and partners out there that specialize in this, which can give you a helping hand.

As an added bonus, the creatives found across the internet and on social media are also significantly easier to produce, translating into a more optimized spending as marketing campaigns evolve.

3) Free-to-play means you’re more like to get more players

Hyper-casual games are typically always free to download and play. Meaning there’s no price barrier for new players. All they need to do is open up their app store and download them.

More players = more data

Making your game free means you’ll get more players wanting to try your title out. Which leads to a bunch of benefits. Experience, for starters. But also data. When you’re first starting out, you want to get as much player data as possible. This’ll teach you about your players’ behaviour: what they like, what they don’t like, when they leave a game, what ads they are likely to click on, and more.

So having your game free and getting more players playing your game gives you just that.

That doesn’t mean you won’t make revenue

For hyper-casual games, the majority of your profits come from ads. Including:

  • In-App Advertising – Ads inside the game itself.
  • Premium Payment Model – Purchasable options to remove ads from the game for a fee.
  • Cross-Promotion – Ads for the game displayed in other games.

The Cost Per Install (CPI) for a standard game usually shifts between 10 to 30 cents. The user’s Lifetime Value (LTV) is then calculated based on how much money they are expected to generate for the game, leveling out to around 20-50 cents.

For an individual user that can look like a small amount, but when the scale is millions of downloads and millions of users everything quickly adds up to large profits.

4) There’s a mass market appeal

Every single hyper-casual game can target people from 6 years old to 66 years old. Young children, teenagers, senior citizens: anyone who owns  a smartphone is a potential player.

The simple gameplay also makes the games snackable and easy to digest. From waiting for the bus or looking to relax after a stressful meeting, hyper-casuals fill in the short gaps of time when people have nothing else to do.

That mass appeal is aided by a strong focus on minimalist design. Hyper-casuals aim to make onboarding as simple as possible, opening up players to gameplay they immediately understand without a tutorial. Once inside the game, everything leads towards satisfying goals and clear win conditions.

5) You can get millions of downloads

Being free is never a burden for business in the world of hyper-casuals. As an example, TapNation has gained over 340 million downloads since 2019, highlighting the growth potential of the market.

Giant Rush! came close to achieving 100 million downloads in just a couple of months

Hyper-casual games are constantly sitting at the top of the app stores, even in front of major apps such as Facebook, TikTok and Snapchat. This visibility offered by the millions of downloads and players is also very attractive for potential new partners interested in sharing the screen, making it easier to bring them in and broaden your business.

At TapNation, we design hyper-casual games that provide entertainment for players around the world every day. We look forward to helping new devs and are always interested in receiving submissions for new concepts. We’re already excited about your new game and want to help make sure more people are playing it as soon as it launches.

If you want to learn more, feel free to get in touch with us here.

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