Everything You Need to Know About Hyper-Casual Games and Their Monetization

Everything You Need to Know About Hyper-Casual Games and Their Monetization

Intro to Hyper Casual Games

In the last 10 years the app stores have seen everything from hard-core, mid-core, and casual games take-off, but the far casual side of the spectrum is now dominating the app charts. Hyper-casual games have seen unparalleled growth, and are only getting stronger. Why? In an age of digital advertising, with a mobile device in nearly everyone’s hands, these games present advertisers with an incredibly effective delivery system… a game where screen time is immediate and addictive.

This brief article will define hyper-casual games, where they came from, and most importantly, how they can be monetized.

What are Hyper-Casual Games?

Hyper-casual games were born in the arcades several decades before. From Space-Travel to Pong, these games were loved by the masses because they were easy to play, but more importantly tempting to replay, and replay, and so it goes…

Modern mobile hyper-casual games have the same qualities but have expanded the definition with incredible variety and appeal. As the name suggests, these games are easy to play by using simple mechanics with no need for instructions or tutorials. The idea is to instantly tap and play, each time getting a little better than the next, which makes them highly addictive.

What are Hyper-Casual Games?

Here are some of the simple mechanics used in hyper-casual games and why they are effective – 

  • Timing – very common, the difficulty of these games is determined by your timing and variated by the speed at which each round plays. With short rounds, successful hyper-casual games often offer multiple lives or chances to reduce the risk of losing a player. 

  • Agility – agility mechanics are often found in hyper-casual games because they encourage the players to act fast while gaining skill. As the game increases to new levels, the speed at which you move becomes more important. Agility mechanic games become highly addictive for people who want to beat their current high score.
  • Puzzle -a more relaxed type of hyper-casual game, the puzzle category is incredibly popular for its addictive nature by inciting the user to create order. Like Tetras, some puzzle games can also rely on skill and timing.
  • Merge – in games using merge mechanics, you usually combine or swap cells in a row or column to achieve the game’s goal. Candy Crush Saga is a highly successful example. These games provide a simple but addictive user experience.
  • Swerve – swerve games require a player to move on a track or move out of the way of oncoming hazards using swerve mechanics. Mimicking racing or driving, these games offer fast, exciting play.

Here are some additional hyper-casual game mechanics –

  • Idle mechanics
  • Tidying mechanics
  • Resizing mechanics
  • Stacking mechanics
  • Rising and falling mechanics
  • Color-matching mechanics
  • Turning mechanics
  • Capture the territory mechanics
  • Drawing mechanics
  • Aiming mechanics
  • Pushing mechanics
  • Direction mechanics

Hyper-casual games’ combination of simple mechanics and UI deliver a very accessible and engaging user experience. With no tutorial, even more so than casual games, players can instantly get into gameplay and get hooked on improving to reach new levels. In addition, hyper-casual games, unlike other genres that target more specific audiences, are built for the masses, which also opens up the door for various methods of monetization.

Hyper-Casual Game Monetization

Hyper-Casual Game Monetization

Because hyper-casual games rely on ads as their primary form of monetization, choosing the correct ad units and monetization technologies is crucial for driving revenue. In addition to evaluating specific ad units, developers need to consider factors like session length and the number of sessions per day when strategizing ad implementation to serve more impressions to users.

Read more in How to Boost Your App with Elite User Segmentation.

Here are few different categories and strategies to boost revenue for hyper-casual games –

  • Rewarded video – unlike interstitial and banner ads, if integrated right, rewarded videos can also increase retention and session length. Game developers looking to incorporate rewarded videos can add different layers to their games, or provide various rewards such as gems, extra time, extra lives, etc. for watching the video. One drawback is even when developers have optimized their rewarded video strategy, they may still see that more than half of their players don’t engage with the ad. This makes interstitials and banner ads useful. 
  • Interstitials and banner ads – for interstitials and banner ads, the main factors are the number of ads shown per second, whether the interstitial is static, video, playable, and the integration and timing of a “skip” button. A slow skip button will generate higher ad click, but it may also lesson retention, session length, and LTV. The best way to generate the highest LTV and the highest revenue is by A/B testing.

Read more about generating the highest LTV in Targeting High LTV Users.

  • Impression level revenue – just as you have ‘whales’ who might make a lot of in-app purchases, you can also of whales of a different kind, ones who generate significant revenue from engaging heavily with ads. Therefore, it’s key for app developers to adjust their implementation and strategies based on device-level data on ad engagement and revenue. This can be very complicated and nuanced, so we suggest working with the experts on this.
  • in-app bidding – by functioning as an auction among ad networks, in-app bidding gives app developers automated monetization while still delivering the highest value for each impression. Essentially, in-app bidding reduces operational overheads by automatically serves the impression to the highest paying ad network.
Waterfall vs Header bidding

Learn more about in-app bidding in Waterfall VS. Header Bidding. 

Conclusion – Hyper-Casual Games and Ad Monetization Make a Powerful Combo

In the mobile app space, hyper-casual games and ad monetization make a powerful combination. Of course, it takes in-depth strategy and research to implement either. It’s exciting to think about the future of hyper-casual games when one imagines the many layers of game play and potential marketing angles. The sky is the limit in terms of the games that can be developed and how ads can be implemented. That’s the reason why DSPs, like Bigabid, rely so heavily on indredibly sophisticated machine learning technologies. If you need help monetizing your hyper-casual game with highly sophisticated AI technologies and a transparent wiz-team of data scientists and engineers, please reach out!

Results based advertising starts here.

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