How to make Hyper-Casual games

What are "hyper-casual games" and how should you make one? The whole "hyper-casual genre" is rather new, but trending topic among the game industry, so it's good that you either understand what is it about or maybe even try it yourself. Let's dig in!

What is a hyper-casual game?

Hyper-casual games are very simple mobile games, which have one or very few "unique" features, easy to learn controls and appealing/fun graphics. By standard, these games have fast development cycles from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.

Why hyper-casual games are becoming popular?

For the game companies, the riskiest thing to do is to develop a single game for a long period of time without proof that you have an existing audience. That audience also needs to be big enough, to maximize the chances of gaining enough sales to break even, or get profit.

In today competitive markets, it's rather hard (read: impossible) to get that proof for your game, before actually releasing it and seeing the reactions of the players/press/influencers. Working with a game project for months, or maybe even years just to get crushed with a minimum amount of sales is a suicide mission for most of the small/medium-sized game companies. That's when hyper-casual games step in.

Market research by publishing games

Rather than making assumptions, or using "traditional methods" of researching the markets, it's now possible to use the same amount of time to reach out for an audience and see if you can create something interesting for them. With an experienced and dedicated team, you can create a "small slice" of a bigger idea, in the form of the hyper-casual game and release it for the public in a very short period of time.

With data-driven decision making, you're going to have all the necessary information to decide whether you should proceed with this idea, or forget it and move to the next one. Within couple of weeks, you may have either discovered a potential market or just dodged months (or years) of invaluable work.

Simplified step-by-step guide for your first hyper-casual game

  1. Research Google play or Appstore for trending games
  2. Use tools like App Annie and Game Refineryfor better understanding of the number of sales and type of features these games have
  3. Design your own variations from these trending games
  4. Find reference for the art style and use that for the graphical design of your game
  5. Make the game on 1-2 weeks (You can attend a game jam to get started if it helps!)
  6. Insert basic analytics to your game (You will need this!)
  7. Publish the game on Google Play
  8. Create a gameplay video trailer of your game (maximum of 10-20 seconds)
  9. Use Facebook (or Google, Instagram & Twitter) to promote your trailer video and get people to visit your Google Play store page
  10. Spend a minimum of 100-500 EUR for your promotional "User acquisition" campaign
  11. Get the performance data from the process
  12. Contact hyper-casual publishing companies (Prepare to present the game and KPI's such as retention, cost per install)
  13. Repeat

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