We’ve been getting our research on, and looking into the metrics behind successful hyper-casual games. You can read our full findings here. But just in case you’re too busy for that, we’ve put together this post to give you the need-to-knows.
What’s the research about?
Using data from our network of games, we’ve broken down the top KPIs (key performance indicators – basically measurements of performance) that developers of hyper-casual games should be aiming for, by sub-genre. You can use these to benchmark your own games against some of the best games, and learn just whereabouts you sit within the industry.
But before we do, here’s an idea of how much data we’re handling in GameIntel.
Our network stats for Benchmarks+
- All-time integrated games: 140k+
- Games tagged with sub-genres: 150K+
- Cross-title monthly players: 2b+
- Average monthly sessions: 20b+
Network stats for Game Explorer
- Data from top ranked games featured: 321k+
- Game-specific contextual tags: 500+
In short, we have a mixture of aggregated data from our portfolio games that we collect from GameAnalytics, and data we scrape from the App Stores. For the latter, we’ve layered and combined this with our own aggregated data, as well as tagged over 200k games with contextual points. There’s a lot more info around this here.
What are the hyper-casual sub-genres we’re looking at?
- Timing: These games are all about precision, like timing jumps or hitting a ball. So it’s titles like Fun Race 3D, Crossy Road, Splashy!, and Color Switch.
- Traversal: This genre of games relies on players’ reflexes and getting them to swipe left or right, for example to dodge objects or run through a jungle. It includes games like Color Road!, Pixel Rush, and High Heels!.
- Physics: These usually involve an object (like a ball) either rising or falling through a series of obstacles. Examples include Helix Jump, Stack Ball 3D, and Stack Fall.
- Shooting: Logic is your player’s best friend for these games. They often involve moving objects around the screen, or aiming at a moving item. Think Stealth Master, Pocket Sniper!, and Knock’em All.
The results in numbers
Here’s a snapshot of the figures from the top 5% best-performing games. You can find the exact numbers in the report.
- Day 1 retention looks at how many players come back after one day of playing a game. The winner in this category was timing at 44%. And the rest were around the 40% mark.
- Day 7 retention looks at how many come back after seven days. Here shooting had the edge at 17%. The rest were just below 15%.
- Playtime is the total time a user spends playing a game each day (combining all sessions). Shooting came out on top here as well at 45 minutes.
Timing was the winner when it came to monetization with an ARPPU (average revenue per paying user) of $42, ARPDAU (average revenue per daily active user) of $0.15, and conversion rate (the percentage of users who made a purchase that day) of 0.94%. The other sub-genres’ results varied, but you can get the full rundown in the report.
The best day 1 retention came from France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, who tied on 49%.
Best day 7 retention had Germany, the Netherlands, and Japan at the top with 19%. And the best playtime was in Japan at 63 minutes. We also looked at some other countries inside, specifically USA and China (although they didn’t quite make it to the top for the casual genre…).
Superstar 2020 games
We’ve gone into a lot more detail in the report. But for now, the top games in each genre in 2020 were:
- timing – Slap Kings from Lion Studios with a performance score of 43,420
- traversal – High Heels! by Zynga Inc. which scored 48,383 (you can read more about High Heels! in the full report)
- physics – Demolish! from Voodoo with 36,449
- shooting – Stealth Master by SayGames LLC with 39,732.
FYI – performance score is basically a score we give to each game based on a bunch of things, like their ranking, ratings, how long they were in the top charts and also how many countries they rank in to.
How to make a successful hyper-casual game
We’ve crunched those numbers and used them to come up with three bits of advice to help you build a super-popular hyper-casual game.
1. Keep it short, simple, and satisfying
Short, so someone can play your game while standing in a queue. Simple, so anyone can start playing without any instructions. And satisfying, so you give them a reason to come back.
2. Make sure the gameplay is forgiving
Don’t make your game too tricky. Think about offering multiple lives or rewards – some games even make it impossible for players to lose. Remember that your players are looking for a quick, easy, and fun game to fill their time. Make it too harsh and they might move on to something else.
3. Know when to cut your losses
Any hyper-casual game with a day 1 retention rate that’s lower than 40% probably isn’t going to do well. Depending where you are in your development process, you can either run quick sprints to roll out more iterations, improve your stats, or go back to the drawing board. You’ll want to start with high-impact, low-effort tweaks for each sprint – otherwise you might spend weeks working on a game that people just don’t want to play.
Want to know more?
You can read the full report or, if you want even more data, try GameIntel – ranking data, market insights, and accurate performance estimations powered by GameAnalytics (it’s free to sign up).