Finding Success and Becoming Competitive in the Hyper-Casual Market
Philippe Grazina – Oct 26, 2020
Gaming is now more than mainstream, it’s one of the main pillars of the entertainment industry.
Playing through a few rounds of a puzzle or jumping across a couple platforms is secondhand nature to everyone in the world.
Nowhere else is that more true than with hyper-casual mobile games. Loading up a quick level or two is so common it often happens without even thinking about it.
Whether it’s a short break in the middle of the day or a longer wait on a busy commute, hyper-casual games add fun to how we pass time.
With such a strong integration into our everyday lives and such a low barrier to entry, the market is also incredibly crowded. The infinite number of options on the app stores are constantly fighting to be at the top of everyone’s mind.
People only have a limited amount of attention to give.
All this is why hyper-casual games make up one of the most competitive and fast moving markets today. Publishing new games means competing not just for that limited attention, but also being able to stay ahead of the curve and develop it in as little time as possible.
That’s also why it’s important to always remember the core value behind everything that is entertainment. Those bite sized moments that keep people looking at their phone.
Everything from the gameplay loops to the art direction needs to be designed to fit perfectly into those minutes of limited attention to help ensure a title will find the success it deserves.
The Right Game at the Right Time
The time spent looking at long lists of recommendations and reading reviews often contribute to why you choose to download a game, but there’s something else at play as well.
The game just feels right.
If you’ve ever wanted to play something new, just browsing through the games section can be a daunting task. In any given moment it feels like there are endless choices for every genre on every platform.
In the hyper-casual market, the competition is further intensified with styles seeming to rotate in and out of popularity faster than ever. That pressure translates into a need for shorter development times in order to launch a game while its window of popularity is still open.
At TapNation, that takes the form of testing as many different ideas as possible to see what works and what doesn’t early in the development cycle. We bring the whole team together for regular brainstorming sessions and cultivate an open environment where new ideas flourish.
We’re always looking into what could be the next game everyone is choosing to spend their time playing.
Predicting the next hit requires a deep understanding of the hyper-casual market and the gaming industry though. Being able to translate the specific knowledge of why a game is successful into a brand new experience is the only way to work on the next big thing.
Quickly Creating the Next Big Hyper-Casual Hits
Building a framework for success means having clear goals and initiatives for every step of the process. In order to facilitate the whole development cycle, TapNation works to keep up a steady pace of quick iterations focused on motion design, CPC & CPR tests, and pitching concepts to studios.
Everything starts with the motion design stage where artists bring an initial idea to life. The fuzzy concepts and initial brainstorming comes together in a working piece of art. Building up something that looks right helps build a better understanding of how the latest gameplay or abstract imagery will look like when it becomes a real game.
After a working prototype is completed and out in the wild, the next phase is all about testing it with players. Even if we are confident in our ideas, it’s impossible to know how people will react to every detail until they are actually playing the game.
Sometimes personal tastes aren’t reflected in what players want to play.
At this stage, these CPC and CPR tests are run to go one step further and see if the game could be profitable. Sometimes a game may be fun and generally liked, but every install costs too much money or leads are just too hard to come by.
It’s a shame when an otherwise good idea turns out to be too expensive to continue developing, but it’s better to learn that early in the process.
Once a given title has been proven to work and to be potentially profitable, it’s time to pitch the idea to studios. TapNation’s extensive network of game devs will have the initial results and code sent over with a plan on how to build it out further.
From there the game will live out its life helping countless people around the world have fun in between the other parts of their day.
Continued Success through Strong Analysis
Whether it’s a new update, bugfixes, time limited events, or special brand partnerships, there is still a lot of work to be done once the game is officially launched.
The correct use of tools to analyze how and why people play is a key component of breathing lasting life into any game, but it’s doubly important for free-to-play and hyper-casual games.
A hit that is performing well is only half of the equation.
A dedicated team will need to be continuously monitoring performance and adapting content for every update.
The only way to ensure success is to rely on the best analysis and the best tools. Looking into the numbers and listening to feedback from players makes you learn what exactly people love about the game.
Not only does that help create a better experience for everyone who downloads the game, it also gives valuable insight into what people are looking for in the next big hyper-casual mobile game.