What comes next in the future of hyper casual games?

What comes next in the future of hyper casual games?

Throughout 2020 and 2021, hyper casual games have become widely known. After all, that is the main reason why you are reading this, correct? ;)

Backtracking slightly, looking at the reasons that made hyper casual games so popular, there are two main factors: very easy to make, and very easy to play (better and deeper insight in this article about the principles to improve your hyper casual game). This combination exploded the market with new hits coming from all over the world, and at a crazy rythm too! No wonder that so many are available now, with a few occasionally topping the charts even!

But this model has been cracked somewhat, and bigger studios (and publishers!) already have a lead start on this run, of course. Still, the market will naturally run its due course, and reinvent itself, as is always bound to happen.

We know that hyper casual games usually focus on simplifying and streamlining the gaming experience to the extreme, and that is in big part a reason for their popularity and appeal. But games can only get so simple, before starting to be super dull, repetitive, or blatant copies.

It is then necessary to evaluate the market and its trends as a whole, and see what cues from the past it might be possible to use, and leverage, to lead into the future succesfully. As with many other subjects in life, it is very possible that some answers for the times ahead are an echo of some other ideas from previous ages.

Below you will be able to find a few (possible? plausible?) guesses as for what those traits from the past might look like!

More complex economies

Hyper casual games have gone the oppposite way from complex economies. with bigger focus on immediate experiences which are easier to understand. This of course makes sense, considering that the overall experience is intended to be short right from the start. One of the other concerns is the time it takes to build some more complex systems on top of a simple gameplay, which can disrupt the fast-paced lifecycle of hyper casual development.

As tools and processes improve and get better and better, it could be expected that teams will then in turn be able to take a little extra time to make their games somewhat more complex and engaging, and deeper economies are a great option.

More revenue from IAPs

The greatest and most succesful mobile games of all time have made lots of money for their developers, and for most of them that means direct puchases (IAPs, or In-App Purchases).

Hyper casual games steered away from this with a bigger focus on advertising revenue, again targeting shorter sessions and less dedication from users.

Something that some of the more traditional mobile games can attest to, is that a user that made a purchase is one that retains significantly better! This can be perceived either as cause or consequence: a user that is very interested in a game is more likely to make a purchase; or, rather, a user that made a purchase is more likely to continue playing in order to enjoy and make the most out of this purchase.

Chicken-egg dillema, right? In any case, hyper casual games can learn a thing or three from this. And following from the point above, as tools get better, teams might be able to dedicate additional time to add layers of interest to their otherwise ultra-simple gameplay; this can mean creating more content which can be purchased, or maybe some other creative ways to handle purchases!

Synergyes with known IPs

Something that always has a very high potential for success, is starting with an already-known and successful brand, or character, and have a game use that context for some additional promotion.

IP (meaning, Intellectual Property) is often used in the gaming industry to refer to those brands that everyone knows already and that could lend themselves very easily to games or other media (consider Marvel and their superheroes, for instance).

What synergyes with IPs usually mean, is a product that immediately gets recognised by millions of people worldwide. Success is, of course, not guaranteed, but it is very likely that some people will end up installing the game even without knowing anything else about the game! This opens up interesting possibilities for the marketing campaigns, and possibly make them cheaper as well (ie. a known brand is cheaper to advertise for, as people already know about it, whereas an unknown brand can have trouble with it).

Not a lot of hyper casual games have been paired with known and successful IPs, but this is very likely to change within the next couple of months!