· 3 min read

Hyper-Casual in 2021: What to Expect in Eastern and Western Markets

The gaming market boomed in 2020. Especially for hyper-casual games. But will 2021 bring the same level of success? Here's what Hyper-casual specialists JoyPac say.

Hyper-casual games boomed in 2020. With so many of us confined to our homes, the mobile gaming industry saw a peak worldwide – especially in the Chinese, Indian and Brazilian markets. 

During the lockdowns, active users went up 200%. The average length of gaming sessions went up 20%. And hyper-casual games alone generated 1bn monthly downloads.  

Can these numbers remain so high? Could they go even higher? Here’s what we’re expecting to see in the market in 2021.

IDFA changes will affect hyper-casual the least

While IDFA still remains a question mark, the iOS changes seem unlikely to affect hyper-casual games directly. This is because the hyper-casual genre has a broader audience than other categories and targets users differently.

Meanwhile, ad money could prove to be an issue due to other genres like mid-core games getting hit with the IDFA changes. This could be dealt with through creatives – by presenting gameplay in a specific way that proves appealing to different audiences.

The iOS IDFA changes could open up an opportunity for Android to become the new battlefield as more publishers move over to the platform. Hyper-casual publishers will probably also shift focus to Android alongside other genres.

Android though is still pretty likely to implement a similar system once Apple goes forward with its changes.

In 2021, we expect small trends will continue to rise and fall. Not everything this year will be hybrid-casual and developers will have to be much faster to ride those trend waves. 

We might see casual, mid-core and other genres (games with heavier concepts, more complex mechanics, and other features) adopting hyper-casual themes and gameplay. 

We also expect to see more metric-driven trends. Developers and publishers with the right tools will stay on top of the changing trends and jump fairly quickly to act on their insights. 

The Asian market should continue to grow

While you might not see many hyper-casual titles in the charts, they’re on the rise. This growth should continue in the coming years and competition will become more fierce.

A lot more developers in Asia are picking up on hyper-casual games. They’re also discovering specific styles that are more suited to their audiences than western-developed ones. This will accelerate the genre’s growth across the region. 

ISBN for ad monetization is rumored to be making its way to Asia. This would be a huge blow for the Chinese market.

Developers and publishers will collaborate more closely

In recent years, we’ve seen publishers seeking out longer relationships with developers – rather than having a one-off deal with them. There’s nothing to suggest this trend won’t continue.

Expect publishers to focus more than ever on the ‘superstar’ developers – highly sought-after teams with major success stories under their belt. This might make it harder for newcomers to find a publishing partner.

We also expect to see more internal development and studio acquisitions.

Hyper-casual isn’t going away any time soon

The hyper-casual genre is built in such a way that it can easily adapt to changes and evolve – it has broad appeal, it’s data-driven, and has a lightning-fast development cycle. In 2021, there’s no reason to think the rise of hyper-casual games will be slowing down.

Want to take your hyper-casual game from East to West? Submit your game for a free reviewal. We’d love to see what you’re working on.

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