The Hyper-casual Game and its attraction to all mobile game players and developers

May 19, 2022

What Are Hyper-casual Mobile Games? How Popular Are They? 

Hyper-casual games feature simple gameplay that harkens back to the early days of gaming and arcades. Hyper-casual minimalism gives the genre a low entry barrier for developers and publishers. 

Some hyper-casual titles are even built via no-code development platforms. This simplicity makes the genre very competitive, so developers must innovate and think fast to stay ahead of the curve.  

To that end, hyper-casual is an incredibly fast-moving (and growing) genre. It has seen stable growth in the past two years, accounting for more than 30% of total downloads among the top 100 globally in 2021.  


Right now, there are fewer “forever franchises” in the hyper-casual space. You can see above that there were 36 hyper-casual titles among the top 100 downloaded games in 2021. Just eight of these 36 games were present in 2020’s ranking, highlighting just how fast-moving the genre is in terms of top games.  

The hyper-casual market is also rapidly evolving in terms of trends. For example, ASMR was a popular mechanic in 2020 but fell off the ranking in 2021. Meanwhile, the runner and racing subgenre overtook simulation as the most popular hypercasual subgenre in 2021.  

Finding Success in Hyper-casual Games 

As with most top mobile genres, hyper-casual games find success via a perfect combination of user acquisition, monetization, and retention. 

  • User acquisition is the most important stage for hypercasual games, as they require a large number of installs to be successful. 
  • Game titles and advertisements are usually straightforward to help gamers understand the gameplay in a few seconds. 
  • Hypercasual games have a significantly lower cost per install (CPI) than other genres. This lowers developers’ entry barrier and raises competition in the genre.  
  • However, hyper-casual gamers usually play several titles at the same time, so cross-promotion between hyper-casual games is common. 

Across the four key markets, hyper-casual gamers are similar demographically. They: 

  • Skew male 
  • Are full-time employees 
  • Have a mid-to-high income 
  • Enjoy film, TV series, and video games.  

Hypercasual players across all four market markets skew younger than all mobile gamers. While the average age of mobile gamers in these four markets is around 33, the average age of hypercasual gamers is below 30. 

“Almost one-third of the most downloaded games are currently hypercasual titles,” says Jason Wang, Pangle’s Product Lead. “The good news is that there is still plenty of potentials for new publishers to find success in hypercasual; it’s a genre played by every demographic, and the design of hypercasual means anyone can enjoy a burst of simple gaming fun.” 

Retention Has Long Been an Issue for Hyper-casual Games, but Innovations Might Change That 

The classic hypercasual games often struggle to retain their high volume of players: 

  • As a rule-of-thumb, mobile game publishers decide whether to continue investing in a game if it reaches D1 retention of 40% 
  • D7 retention rates are where hypercasual games fall short. On average, mobile games reach around 20% D7 retention.  
  • However, hypercasual games often see D7 retention rates below 10%. 

Over the past two years, hyper-casual titles have begun adding more in-depth game content to retain players, which also creates monetization opportunities for both IAA and IAP.  

To further address the issue of low retention, more hyper-casual games are deepening the game loop by adding progressive difficulty and lite meta. Simply put, the hyper-casual genre is evolving into hybrid-casual: 

  • Join Clash from Supersonic features RPG mechanics and customization.  
  • Tangle Master 3D from Rollic adds a pet-like system on top of the puzzle gameplay.  
  • Another Rollic hit, High Heels, even introduces a leaderboard to boost engagement and retention. 

Luckily, hypercasual players also play a plethora of other genres on mobile, which you can see below. This means many players are already used to these meta mechanics.  newzoo_hypercasual_games_monetization

As you can see, the kinds of games that hypercasual players enjoy across the four markets vary. In general, those who play hypercasual games also play many (mid)core genres like battle royale, strategy, and role-playing.   

Publishers should consider geographical differences when promoting hypercasual games. “Selling word games in Asia turned out to be a lot harder than we had expected, and it was really that helped us unlock the opportunity in the Asian markets,” said Chun-Kai Wang, CEO & Co-Founder of Kooapps. 

“With its universal mechanics, transcends language and culture and becomes a game everybody wants to play. That allowed us to enter the Asian markets.” 

Despite facing some privacy challenges, the genre is leveraging cross-promotion, hybrid monetization, and gameplay mechanics from other, more core genres to overcome these challenges and bring the genre to the next level.  

Source: Newzoo