Bridge Race creator Nebih Basaran, CEO and founder of Garawell Games, and Mark Ratchin, head of the publishing team at Supersonic, break down stereotypes about hyper-casual games and share tips on making games that will become long-term hits.
Hyper-casual games have earned the title of «short-term hits». A short game session characterizes the genre, so this opinion is understandable and expected. However, some examples of hits remain at the top of the charts for a long time. An exception to the rule or an intelligent approach and marketing?
Follow market trends, but find gaps
Some studios copy techniques and mechanics from games that have already been released. This method is guaranteed to fail 99 per cent of the time. That doesn’t mean it’s right to dismiss current market trends, but rather the opposite. Use and analyze trends to understand what has not yet been created. Play as many games as possible to understand the flaws and find room for new ideas.
Hold on to unique mechanics, even after the first failure
You are finding an idea that competitive not used is like looking for a needle in a haystack. So if you find a unique concept in initial testing, trust your gut. Don’t discard the idea too quickly if you think it will be the next hit. Spend more time refining, tweaking, and iterating. Knowing that the best effort has been made is better than watching competitors succeed with a similar idea.
Create ideas every day
Coming up with game ideas is not an easy task. A large part of the development cycle during the prototyping stage is spent on it. When creating new game ideas, get inspiration from as many sources as possible, such as Reddit, Tiktok, and itch.io.
Sources are not limited to the media. An evening conversation with your teenage nephew will provide a new perspective and help inspire interesting and open-minded thoughts.
Take your time at the development stage
The temptation to rush through the development phase to create as many prototypes as possible is logical, but this approach increases the risk of missing out on a potential hit. So slow down and reduce the number of prototypes — the quality will naturally improve, and the next hit competitor will be right under your nose.
Reinforce soft launch
The soft launch seems like the end of the road, but in our experience, it is not. Developers spend much more time updating games after launch than during the prototyping phase. The in-game results prove this. Unique ideas lead to the top, but you must work hard to stay.
Creating a team
Products that top the charts are created by studios with the help of analytical teams. Proper game creation involves these steps: gameplay research and concept generation. The first action helps ensure that the game consistently challenges the gamer, while the second increases user retention. These ideas are then translated into appropriate A/B tests and iterations.
A combination of talent and technology
Supersonic has optimized the process of publishing games. Today they use technology to test and implement final product changes. For example, with the help of the Wisdom SDK platform, they conduct A/B testing of several variants of creatives at once so that the choice decision is based on the received data.
Statistics are vital, but it’s not uncommon for the human element to affect the outcome. This is where a talented team comes in and steers the game in the right direction. For example, an inflated retention rate is sometimes inappropriate and short-sighted, and it takes an experienced person to understand.
Updating creatives and game elements
For the game to remain attractive to users, you must regularly find new winning creatives that will keep and increase the number of downloads.
As the game progresses, new skins, platforms, and layers will appear, from which new visuals will emerge. When creating these objects, keep in mind that each carries new emotions. These points of contact increase the perspective of the gameplay, and the game opens up for each user personally. The algorithm is simple: find new creative ideas and get player growth.
Hypercasual games are not a short-term hit. With the proper skill set, technology, and strategy, the game will stay at the top of the charts for a long time.