It’s no secret that casual games often suffer from low engagement and retention. The previously popular hyper-casual games are easy to attract players and gain users with their natural advantages such as simple gameplay and fast pace. But “short life” is a fatal flaw, perhaps the market fatigue hidden in hyper-casual has already predicted the emergence of new track.
It combines hyper-casual core elements with medium to heavy gaming features, which can enhance players’ engagement and long-term performance, form a more efficient monetization system, and continue players’ LTV.
According to Sensor Tower’s “The State of Mobile Gaming 2023” report, the download volume of hybrid-casual games in 2022 exceeded 5.1 billion (statistics of App Store and Google Play data), an increase of 3% year-on-year. At the same time, market revenue has climbed to $1.4 billion, nearly doubling from 2020.
As a large-scale casual game developer with rich R&D and practical experience, Heynext took the lead in embarking on the road of evolutionary iteration. To date, Heynext has racked up more than $100 million in revenue from its hybrid-casual games, which have been downloaded more than 30 million times on Google Play. What is the “magic” of hybrid-casual games? Let’s explore Heynext’s money-making formula.
1. (Hyper) casual kernel
The main reason why hyper-casual games have not died out is because of their outstanding customer acquisition performance. The creative points and simple operation make it cover a wide range of audiences. Therefore, it is undoubtedly the best choice for hybrid-casual games to take casual or hyper-casual as the core to attract users.
2. Meta layers
The high viscosity system created by meta layers is a powerful driver of player engagement and retention, and is considered one of the most important elements in hybrid-casual games. On the basis of core gameplay, Heynext developers have differentiated themselves from competitors by adding meta layers such as collection system, plot elements, customization, etc., and constantly optimized details, added additional tasks and goals, making the game experience richer.
3. Mixed monetization
When it comes to monetizing games, it’s a medium to long term goal to develop players’ paying habits, so getting the balance right between monetization and player experience is critical. A combination of advertising monetization and in-game purchases can be an effective way to drive revenue growth. Players have the option of clicking on ads in exchange for game rewards, which brings in revenue without destroying the experience; meta layers enable players to increase their activity, achieve a longer life cycle of the game, and provide the possibility of monetizing in-game purchases.
4. Online operation and social functions
Judging from Heynext’s excellent performance and dedication, the power of additional content in the game should not be underestimated. Online operation is a powerful means to increase awareness and user stickiness. Build an upgrade system to meet the players’ sense of achievement and maintain the freshness of the game. The leaderboard mechanism allows players to track and compare with each other, injecting vitality into the whole game. Either way, an absolute advantage could become an opportunity to become a top casual game publisher.
The contribution of “hybrid play” to improving the long-term retention data of products is obvious, and more and more developers are moving towards hybrid casual games. However, it’s worth noting that Heynext introduced those mechanics into the game gradually, knowing that their target audience was still casual players. Both the introduction of new mechanics and the balancing of player needs should be taken seriously as challenges.
Now Heynext, as a successful paradigm, can provide reference for more companies to creatively promote integration and iteration. We expect that “hybridization” will continue to be upgraded in the future, and more gameplay will be embedded in this mode, so as to broaden the win-win path for players and developers.