Arcade idle is gaining a higher and more popular position amongst connoisseurs of the hyper-casual market niche. Thanks to excellent engagement and profitability figures, the attention of developers and investors is increasingly drawn to this sub-genre. But what is the secret? Andrea Knezovic analyses all aspects on Udonis.
As the name implies, arcade idle games combine the intuitive game mechanics of classic arcade games with simplified systems for gathering resources and developing idle games.
According to a study by SensorTower and Homa Games, arcade idle games have an almost 50% retention rate on Day 1 and an average D0 play time of 25 minutes with a CPI of 40 cents.
The basic idea behind hybrid-casual games is to mix and match game mechanics from different genres. At the core is the simplicity of hyper-casual games, which are combined with elements of medium-core or arcade games.
The purpose of merging genres is to improve the poor retention that often plagues traditional hyper-casual games, as well as to solve monetisation problems.
As a result, more and more developers and investors are turning to arcade idle and other types of hybrid-casual games.
Arcade Idle market review
Games of this sub-genre first started appearing on the horizon back in 2020 during the Quarantine era. In 2022, players downloaded hybrid-casual games 5.1 billion times! This includes all hybrid-casual sub-genres, including arcade games, but it’s still a strong indicator of how popular these games are.
As a result, they brought in around $1.4 billion for their developers and publishers in the last financial year, a figure higher than in 2021.
Another indicator of how well a particular market segment is performing is downloads. Unlike revenues from idle arcade, downloads have not experienced such clear growth. There have been many ups and downs from 2020 to date, but downloads peaked in 2022.
If we look at the publishers of the leading arcade idle games, three names stand out – Homa Games, SayGames and Supersonic Studios. Overall, the leaders of the hyper-casual niche remain the leaders here too.
Basic elements of idle games
Arcade idle games are characterized by simple arcade core and idle meta layer and progression systems.
Idle game mechanics provide a sense of progression and long-term goals, while the arcade elements add excitement and immediate rewards. This combination keeps players motivated to achieve milestones and unlock new features while enjoying active gameplay challenges.
As a consequence, it opens up many exciting monetization opportunities. The arcade core is what gives arcade games a hyper-casual feel that has mass appeal. With simple controls, players can get right into the game.
Collecting resources is one of the main functions of downtime. Depending on the theme, players collect things like crops, livestock products, raw materials, etc. The aim, of course, is to accumulate as many resources as possible.
The purpose of collecting resources in arcade mobile games is to provide a sense of continuous progress and reward, even when players are not actively participating in the game.
To maximise profits, arcade idle games also include in-app purchases as an additional monetisation feature. IAP offers often include more permanent versions of ad-based offers with rewards, an ad-free option and various bonuses. Thus, unlike traditional hyper-casual games that rely solely on advertising, arcade idle games use both in-app purchases and advertising, sometimes even subscriptions. For hybrid games, hybrid monetisation.
According to advertising analytics platform AppMagic, arcade ads with the highest number of impressions belong to leading games such as My Mini Mart, Aquarium Land, Horse Life, Burger Please and Alien Invasion. Most showings come from India, Brazil and the United States.