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The market share of hypercasual games has shrunk by almost 20% percentage points in the past year, but hybrid casual games are on the rise, according to a report by mobile growth accelerator platform Liftoff.
The research is part of Liftoff’s Casual Gaming Apps 2023 report, revealing which mobile game genres and subgenres are driving the most installs and the latest trends shaking up the mobile casual gaming market.
The overall download market share of the hypercasual genre has fallen from about 50% in the first quarter of 2021 to just over 30% in the first quarter of 2023. Mobile game developers are adapting by combining game mechanics and layers of two or more genre to create hybrid casual games.
Hybrid casual games are a new genre born out of hypercasual games. They feature hyper-casual core gameplay and mid-core elements. This hybrid nature allows developers to appeal to a wider audience and increase engagement and monetization.
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Hybrid casual games have a broader motivational appeal and more monetization opportunities because of the combination of different layers of gameplay, Liftoff said.
Match 3 games are facing market saturation
Garden Affairs and BTS Island are the only traditional match 3 games released in the past two years that have managed to become top-grossing titles, with market overcrowding making it nearly impossible for emerging titles in the subgenre to crack the charts.
Minigames are increasing. About 23% of the top 200 grossing daily games use minigames that diverge from their core gameplay mechanics to drive aspects such as user acquisition and engagement – both as a permanent addition and as part of an in-game event.
All of the top winning daily games feature competitive events. 100% of the top 10 highest-grossing daily games hosted solo tournaments last year. The majority have also implemented co-op tournaments and competitive events as casual game developers work to broaden the appeal of their games by tapping into players’ competitive motivations.
Joel Yülkunen, head of analytics at Liftoff’s GameRefinery division, said in a statement, “If the mobile game
For developers to succeed in this competitive environment, it’s important to capitalize on revenue-driving trends that are proving to be hits with casual gamers. By embracing the latest trends, such as hybrid elements and competitive events, casual game developers can continue to increase engagement and retention while providing enticing opportunities for advertisers.”
The report also includes a year-by-year breakdown of ad spend and revenue metrics. Simulation games were found to have the lowest CPI (cost per install) at 59 cents per user, and North America had the highest CPI in the world at $3.59. Android users were also noted as the more cost-effective platform to target users, costing an average of 63 cents per player compared to $2.23 for iOS. This is likely due to the continued impact of Apple’s focus on privacy over targeted ads.
The report covers three main sections and is based on the latest revenue data from the 500 highest-grossing mobile games over the past two years, as well as data from over 390 billion ad impressions and 16.7 billion clicks across 100 million installs. All data included in this report comes from GameRefinery and Accelerate, Liftoff’s programmatic advertising solution. It is based on Liftoff data from February 1, 2022 to February 1, 2023.
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