Hyper-casual and hybrid-casual games are among the most discussed topics in the mobile game industry. The number of games belonging to these two genres is relatively high, and the industry is moving from hyper-casual to hybrid-casual. So what is the reason for this movement? What similarities and differences emerge when hyper-casual and hybrid-casual are compared?
Game developers aim to get the maximum benefit from the products they produce. On the other hand, publishers act similarly and want to get the maximum profit from a game for the money they spend. This is quite natural because gaming is a business, and profitability is important here, as in any business model.
It is helpful to touch on what hyper-casual and hybrid-casual are briefly. While introducing these game genres, we will also be comparing them.
What is a hyper-casual game?
Almost everyone operating in the mobile game industry has an idea about hyper-casual. This is quite normal because hyper-casual games make up a massive part of the countless games in the mobile gaming world.
Hyper-casual is a very simple and fun game type, usually based on a single mechanic, that the user can play during the day without spending a lot of time and effort. It can be produced quickly and starts to make a profit in a much shorter time compared to other game types. Hyper-casual games that make a profit quickly also have a significant disadvantage. Most hyper-casual games are short-lived, except for exceptional games.
Those who want to examine the genre in more detail can find reports, academy articles, hyper-casual news, interviews with hyper-casual studios and publishers, and more under our hyper-casual category. However, let’s list it here, starting from the most basic features.
Advantages of hyper-casual games:
- They usually have a simple structure based on a single mechanic.
- Simplicity should not be confused with ease. Some hyper-casual games are challenging. Here simple is used to mean “uncomplicated.”
- It can be developed in a much shorter time than other game genres.
- There is no need for large teams and studios. Small development teams are usually sufficient.
- It can be monetized quickly and provides a financial return in a short time.
- It’s easy to “kill” failed projects and switch to a new one.
The above advantages may create the perception that “it is easy to develop hyper-casual.” This is not true. Hyper-casual games can profit studios millions of dollars but also cause them to go bankrupt. In addition, hyper-casual developers must be strict game industry followers. Otherwise, they may not catch the trend and be driven to failure. Now let’s look at the other side of the coin.
Disadvantages of hyper-casual games:
- It is closely tied to trends, and timing is important. A “good” hyper-casual released out at the “wrong” time may fail.
- It is generally short-lived.
- In the first stage, marketing and advertising costs are very high. For this reason, developers are often dependent on publishers.
- Monetization options are limited compared to other game types. Monetization is primarily dependent on ads and a limited variety of IAPs.
- Making an authentic hyper-casual is relatively difficult. There is a high probability that the same or very similar game in your mind has been created before.
- Competition is very fierce.
These disadvantages are pitfalls for hyper-casual developers. Of course, a studio or publisher who knows what they’re doing can overcome these challenges. It would not be wrong to say that hyper-casual games are “in a race against time.” The fact that games can be developed in a short time and is dependent on trends requires developers to compete.
After this summary, we can switch to the hybrid-casual genre.
What is a hybrid-casual game?
Hybrid-casual is a hybrid game genre with no precise specifics. This genre was born from the combination of various features of hyper-casual, casual, and mid-core games. This is one of the reasons why some hyper-casual developers and publishers also switch to hybrid-casual. Hybrid-casual games significantly reduce some of the disadvantages of hyper-casual games. On the other hand, it also weakens some advantages.
A hybrid-casual game has the fun structure of hyper-casuals. Many ideas and themes that can be used for hyper-casual can also be used in hybrid-casual. On the other hand, various game mechanics and monetization methods taken from casual and mid-core games can be easily integrated into hybrid-casual.
Hybrid-casual provides an excellent solution to the problem of ephemerality, one of the biggest disadvantages of the hyper-casual game genre. Mechanics and meta-gameplays from other game genres extend the life of hybrid-casual games.
To understand hybrid-casual games is necessary to be familiar with the features of hyper-casual, casual, and mid-core games. Each type of game can be studied at length in itself. But here is a summary to clarify the hybrid-casual’s place:
The hybrid-casual game aims to be as accessible as hyper-casual, sustainable as casual, and earn as much money as mid-core.
Advantages of hybrid-casual games:
- It is a hybrid genre, so it can easily carry multiple features that developers and publishers want.
- It has a longer lifespan. Provides medium and long-term engagement.
- Provides more monetization options.
- The development process is faster compared to mid-core and casual games.
- Thanks to its hybrid structure, it appeals to a wider player base.
- Technical parameters such as retention, LTV, and ARPDAU are generally more successful than hyper-casual.
- An explanation needs to be made here. One of the important reasons why these values are more successful than hyper-casual games is that the hyper-casual game market has reached saturation. Users now demand games that are more content-intensive but equally comfortable to play. Hybrid-casual meets these demands.
Making hybrid-casual games is similar to cooking using a variety of spices. You need to use the right amount of spice to achieve the flavor you want. A hybrid-casual game is also shaped by the intent of its developers and can reveal many advantages in addition to the above.
On the other hand, hybrid-casual is a multidisciplinary field. The developer studio needs knowledge or experience in casual, mid-core, and hyper-casual. Otherwise, a studio that wants to make hybrid-casual may find itself making a hyper-casual or mid-core game.
Disadvantages of hybrid-casual games:
- It is a multidisciplinary field. The developer must have knowledge of more than one type of game.
- It requires more labor than hyper-casual gaming.
- The development process is more costly.
Hybrid-casual includes many subgenres. Some games combine mid-core and hyper-casual, while others combine casual and hyper-casual. For this reason, we have mentioned above based only on generally accepted features. It is possible to discuss more advantages and disadvantages as they are divided into sub-headings.
Why are game developers and publishers turning to hybrid-casual?
The question “Is the hyper-casual ending?” is frequently asked. The answer to this question is clear: No.
Everything that has a supply creates a demand for itself. In this context, we cannot say anything invented is completely “ended.” On the other hand, change and development will always continue, and sectors will move towards human needs and demands. This also applies to the game industry.
Hybrid-casual games can be thought of as an updated version of hyper-casuals. The biggest reason for the emergence of this game genre is the change in user expectations. Until now, existing hyper-casual games were profitable and meeting expectations in this area. For this reason, many developers and publishers have turned to this area. But now, the market is starting to become saturated. Today, so many hyper-casual games are produced that users are no longer surprised or excited when they see a new game of this genre.
The hyper-casual game genre is becoming hybrid-casual by keeping up with this change. These two species are not entirely independent of each other. That’s why developers and publishers don’t abandon hyper-casual; they update it.
In summary, the popular features of hyper-casual remain, new ones are added, and companies are moving towards the hybrid-casual category to maximize their profits from the game.
One day, the industry will shift in that direction if users get bored of “simple” games and want to spend their money on hard-core mobile games. The opposite is also valid. Maybe people can move away from tiring and demanding competitive games and start demanding hyper-casual again. This is about the “spirit of the time.” Mainstream can change. However, niche audiences will always exist, and games will be produced for them.
Hybrid-casual games are perceived as a new title in the industry. This is neither right nor wrong. Developers have produced so many hyper-casual games that some of these games have gone beyond the boundaries defined as hyper-casual. There a new genre was born: Hybrid-casual.
The games in the hybrid-casual category were not hyper-casual, they had casual and mid-core features, but they did not fully fit into these categories too. Therefore, the genre has defined itself. It immediately attracted attention for having powerful features of other game genres.
The experience of publishers and developers has shown that hybrid-casual can become a new mainstream. Some developers and publishers have also turned their attention to this genre.
Hyper-casual maintains its power and evolves. Hybrid-casual, on the other hand, stands out with its important advantages. In this and similar transition periods in the game industry, developers and publishers need to set their goals well.