What performance indicators should be the go-to of hyper-casual publishers? Is the market still open for new hyper-casual publishers? What is the future for hyper-casual games and how will their monetization transform? Keep on reading to find out what Grzegorz Regliński, president of TapNice, has to say about it.
Grzegorz Regliński is the president and one of the founders (together with Boombit) of a mobile games studio TapNice, whose hyper-casual games such as Slingshot Stunt Driver & Sport, Make It Fly!, Slingshot Stunt Biker have been downloaded from Google Play and App Store tens of millions of times.
Grzegorz is also responsible for one of the biggest hits in the Boombit group – Dancing Line, which has been downloaded over 100 million times. Given all that, decided to ask Grzegorz a few questions about hyper-casuals.
Your games in TapNice have been downloaded tens of millions of times and they have had great success in terms of monetization. What’s the secret formula for creating a hyper-casual that will conquer Google Play and the App Store?
The recipe seems pretty straightforward: intuitive and clear gameplay, transparent rules for winning, and the game itself should be plenty of fun too :). From the synergy of these ‘powers’ we create what might seem like the perfect product. But there’s a problem when we start acquiring users, and that’s because people have to find out about our game somehow, they have to download it, and spend a part of their free time playing it. In practice, this is the hardest nut to crack and certainly where we have to keep our focus right out of the gate. If we are able to attract players with little cost and it turns out that they enjoy spending time in our game, then we’re almost home.
What are the D1, ARPDAU and ROAS D7 retention rates across hyper-casuals suitable for paid scaling?
It all depends on the CPI (cost per install), that is how much we have to pay to acquire a new player. Let’s assume that our chosen ad gets us players for an average of $0.50 in the USA. With this user cost, we are often able to get a return on the marketing outlay incurred in the first few days from installing the game. If the D1 retention level is at 40%, we have a solid result to work on – this lets us know that many people are returning to our product and that we did not acquire them for nothing. However, during scaling it turns out that the 50-cent threshold can leap to $1 in no time. In such case we must convince as many players as possible to stay with us minimum until the 7th day after installation at all costs.
Instead of ARPDAU, I personally lean towards working with ARPU. With this indicator, looking in cohort terms, we are able to deduce how our advertising campaigns are doing and whether we are earning or burning money. As for ROAS D7, if we can keep it at 50% before scaling, it’s all good. That’s because at a larger scale this value will go to 0%, hence we must have a ‘reservoir’ from which we can descend.
Hyper-casuals are all about a low entry threshold, but we can see that the competition is fierce. Is there still room for new mobile game studios looking to focus only on hyper-casuals?
There’s always room, and like you pointed out in your question – the entry threshold is low. All that matters is a path-breaking idea and solid performance. The only obstacle for new teams looking to enter the market is acquiring players. In my opinion, running a campaign without proper BI and tools gets more and more complicated for new developers, so it is worth looking for a publisher who will help you take your first steps.
When developing hyper-casuals, at what stage do you decide to publish in Google Play or the App Store? Should hyper-casuals be played internally before the official release and what elements should be getting attention from developers?
In most cases, we are able to select a hit or a miss, i.e., a product that is unlikely to have a chance on the market, already at the early prototype stage. It usually takes from 1 to 3 weeks from idea to decision. Games should be played at every stage of production, if the people who are making this product happen enjoy the game, the better our chances that the target audience will be satisfied as well. The more people play the game and share their thoughts with us, the better. Let’s keep in mind that hyper-casuals are aimed at all people, not necessarily players.
How long does it take to prepare a playable hyper-casual prototype suitable for release on Google Play?
It usually takes us 1 month to prepare a product which we can use to conduct the first tests.
What’s the biggest difference between hyper-casuals and hybrid-casuals?
Hybrid-casuals are games that ‘pretend’ to be a bit hyper-casual and a bit mid core. They have a much greater retention and player engagement, while the early-stage cost of acquiring a user is comparable to hyper-casuals. On top of that, they are easy and very enjoyable for new users, they don’t become boring after just a few days, but provide more and more opportunities as the player progresses.
What future do you see for hyper-casuals? Have you noticed any changes in recent years?
Changes are an indispensable element of this market; they appear very quickly and drastically define new trends. I believe that this genre will take its place in our phones for a long time to come, and I can’t imagine what could change that. People have less and less time. They are looking for quick entertainment available here and now. A perfect example is TikTok, FB stories, and the like. Hyper-casuals are like short TikTok clips that you can launch quickly, consume, and discard.
How will hyper-casual monetization transform over the next 5 years?
The mechanisms of displaying and presenting ads is bound to change. That said, ads will be the main vehicle for monetization. Phone gamers want to receive “free” content and nothing can change that. There would have to be a radical change to people’s approach to this topic.
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