The era of hyper-casual games began not so long ago, but in recent years it has been rapidly gaining momentum, with most representatives and companies rising to the top of gaming Olympus almost instantly, earning impressive revenues and hundreds of millions of downloads from their fans. Simple ideas made it to the top charts for a long time, but at the moment there are some glitches: ideas have exhausted themselves, and something new is in no hurry to appear in game shops. TapNation has tried to get a little insight into this issue.

The era of hyper-casual games and their problems

The fact is that games in this format themselves require neither a large development team, nor a huge amount of gamemaking experience, nor finance to invest in the game. In fact, this once attracted a huge number of young studios and developers to the industry, which created a veritable competition in the development industry: a game on the same theme could be released in different versions by a variety of studios, leading to a frantic choice for the average user. At first, this was an advantage, because where there is competition, there is development for the industry as a whole. As time went on, however, progress led to overcrowding of literally everything: overcrowded shops, player fatigue, and developer burnout.

A side note: TapNation targets record year as it hits 800 million downloads

And because hyper-casual games are simple but clever in nature, making them affordable, this has led to tougher competition and hence higher CPI over time.

era of hyper-casual games
Tall Man Run may be the most downloaded hyper-casual game

To counter this, we have seen two kinds of reactions from the industry:

  • Firstly, there is a big focus on trends such as Squid Game, Poppy Playtime, Rainbow Friends or Alphabet Lore, which are usually standard hyper-casual games, take advantage of their popularity and can focus on getting great CPI.
  • Secondly, so-called “super-casual games” have emerged. These basically look like hyper-casual games, but usually have more polished and in-depth gameplay with features coming from casual games, such as hybrid monetisation and longer development times (like arcade games). This strategy aims to maximise retention and compensates for higher CPI.

Therefore, with the right approach and better development of their games, developers will be able to retain players for a longer period and be able to get alternative ways of monetisation. Can hyper-casual games be considered to be in their decline? I think not. After all, they continue to be the most downloaded and popular of all mobile game genres, and developers are trying to keep up with the times and introduce new elements, such as those borrowed from web3 games.