Let’s talk about hyper-casual games

Since the initial launch of the App Store back in 2010, there was a resilient preference in the casual, mid-core & hard-core game categories from mobile gamers. Ten years later, hyper-casual games are still dominating the top charts. We can say with confidence that this category will remain as No1 preference in mobile gamers’ preference. Some known hyper-casual games are: Angry Birds, Temple Run & Candy Crush.

Τhe profile of hyper-casual games

As the name suggests, hyper-casual games are lightweight games with simple mechanics that offer instant gameplay. Literally “tap to play.”

From their definition, it is understood that hyper-casual games are lightweight games, which have a simple design & structure and the user can easily understand how to play them.

Hyper-casual games are mainly characterized by the following characteristics:

  1. Easily understood by the user
  2. Minimalistic design & structure
  3. Few or no tutorials for playing
  4. Simple goals
  5. Small build size
  6. Mass market themes like food, sports & cars.

Monetization of hyper-casual games

The majority of hyper-casual games are offered to the users for free since they have a simplified design and do not have a complicated economy system. Therefore, their revenue mainly relies on ads. Game publishers need to select an advertising format that fits with the design of their game and can maximize the game’s revenue.

Below we discuss in brief the most popular ad formats for hyper-casual games:

1.Rewarded Videos

In a Rewarded Video, the players watch a 30-sec or 60-sec ad in order to get something back. For example in the Paper.io game by Voodoo the user can watch a 30-seconds video in order to receive an extra life & continue playing the game. This is considered the most rewarding ad format for the publishers, since it increases the session length, it is not intrusive for the users and it can impact retention positively.

2. Banners

Banners are ads, which usually appear on the top or the bottom side of the screen and can be easily integrated within a game, offering a much lower payout, compared to Rewarded Videos. Banners should be used in a way that does not distract the user experience in a game.

For example, in the Animal Stack Jump game. a banner appears, on the top of the screen once the user successfully completes a level of the game.This way, the experience is not harmed and the banner can be shown in a readable way, leading in a win-win situation both for the publisher & the player. Banners pay the publisher, usually on a CPM basis (cost per mile).

3. Rewarded Surveys

Another popular monetization strategy for casual games are Rewarded Surveys, which are usually placed as an alternative to Rewarded Videos in several hyper-casual games. They can be used in a free coins section and provide a way for the player, to unlock certain features in the game. For example, in a hypothetical scenario, in the Flappy Bird Game, the users can remove ads & earn extra skins for the game by either watching a video or answering a short Pollfish Rewarded survey.

Rewarded Surveys can be a great alternative for game publishers since users enjoy interactive formats to earn free coins and they offer a high eCPM rate (up to $200 for the US market). Selecting the appropriate monetization strategy is key to increasing revenue in a game without impacting user experience and retention.

To conclude, if you are in the market to launch a new hyper-casual game, you should always keep in mind to select an ad format that fits the design and the flow of the game and does not harm the user experience. Making the right choice, will enhance the retention of the users within the app, and boost your revenue too.