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Are Hyper Casual Games Redefining Traditional Gaming Trends And Methodologies? Hyper casual games quickly established their dominance in the gaming ecosystem and changed the course of the mobile app stores

By Surojit Roy

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Easy-to-play, minimalistic, cost-efficient, super-addictive and made for the mass market: hyper casual games are witnessing an unprecedented growth curve. As per an industry trend analysis, in 2019, hyper casual games covered 45 per cent of all mobile games downloads, accounting for approximately 7.8 billion.

Unsurprisingly, by 2021 this fast-growing category continues to grow at a 15.4 per cent year-on-year rate, achieving 10.7 billion downloads across the category. Advertising revenues in hyper casual games observed a considerable rise over the past couple of years as well. Needless to say, hyper casual games quickly established their dominance in the gaming ecosystem and changed the course of the mobile app stores.

But how did hyper casual games become a category with worldwide significance? This article will delve into the evolution of hyper casual games and their takeover from casual games.

The difference between casual and hyper casual games

As opposed to hardcore gaming categories that require proper and often expensive setup, certain skills and a high amount of time investment, casual games are made for a larger audience. These games can be played with little skills and understanding or knowledge of the game as they have simpler rules, controls and are played in shorter sessions.

Over the past decade, games like Candy Crush, Temple Run and Subway Surfers dominated the global download charts worldwide. In fact, with the introduction of the App Store more than 10 years ago, casual games became a soaring rage in the gaming market that focused on hobbyist gamers until then. Step by step, casual games continued to grow, and by 2016 a large percentage of smartphone users were playing free-to-play casual games.

The advent of hyper casual games and demographic change

While casual games were on an upward spiral, hyper casual games started targeting an unexplored market. In 2018, the hyper casual business model saw the light of day and enabled smaller companies to team up with large publishers and build enticing, addictive and super-hit games. The category focused on non-gamers who weren't even familiar with casual games like Candy Crush, Temple Run and Subway Surfers.

The stereotypical image of young male hardcore gamers, primarily in their teens and twenties, started dissolving. In fact, a report suggested that one-third of gamers today are over the age of 45. Furthermore, the ratio of women mobile game players and male mobile game players is 63:47, with females taking the larger piece of the pie.

In addition, with most people living under the pressure of hectic schedules, they don't have the time to spend hours glued to gaming stations. Instead, they want an easy, convenient and simple gaming experience that serves its purpose by providing them with a quick and entertaining break.

What the future has in store for the hyper casual gaming category?

The hyper casual business approach is currently stirring up the game development ecosystem as it is encouraging smaller players from developing countries to showcase their talent on global platforms. The business model has brought about a unique process, which has enabled this phenomenon. Game developers no longer need to spend years developing a game without knowing if it will succeed or not. Today, they just need to build a 30-second trailer and get it tested in the market. If the trailer passes the set benchmarks, only then will the team build the entire game. And with millions of dollars on the line for a chart-topping hit game, the market for creating the best trailer is hyper competitive.

Surojit Roy

Co-founder at Firescore Interactive and Head of Studio at CrazyLabs India

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