We held the Mobidictum Business Meetup in Istanbul on January 27. In this networking event, where we are excited to host many competent people from the mobile industry worldwide, we discussed many topics and hosted veteran names from the industry and listened to their experiences. In one of the panels at the event, CrazyLabs Turkey Lead Onur Uça and participants from On-Off Games discussed the subject of “scaling hyper-casual games and developing a hit game.”
Onur Uça is also the manager of the hyper-casual accelerator program called CrazyHubs Istanbul. Within the program’s scope, CrazyLabs offers various decks to potential hyper-casual developer studios, making the game they produce a hit. On-Off Games is one of the hyper-casual studios that has succeeded thanks to this accelerator program.
Developing a Hit Game in a Short Time
The Epic Hero Weapon Craft Masters prototype developed by On-Off Games under the mentorship of CrazyLabs passed the CPI tests successfully and reached more than 500 thousand downloads in the USA in a short time. The game published by CrazyLabs currently has more than 1 million downloads on Google Play.
The founders of On-Off Games met in CrazyHubs Istanbul and established their company. The company founders say that they already know game development, but they learned the secrets of making a hit game in this hyper-casual accelerator program.
The Secret to Accessing Know-how: Developing Games Together
A big part of making a hit game depends on how experienced you are. A studio that tries to develop games in isolation from other developers and ideas will probably not be able to produce a game that gives successful results on its first try. This is precisely one of On-Off Games’ success secrets: Working with multiple studios and teams.
CrazyHubs Istanbul gave On-Off Games an advantage in seeing other ideas and accessing know-how. Onur Uça summarizes the subject as follows:
“One of the essential issues in the hub environment is knowledge sharing and know-how between teams. We provide training to Hub participants, but when ten studios work together in the same environment, they improve each other. If a single hyper-casual studio develops five games per month, it only has the data and know-how of these five games. Ten studios working together develop 50 games a month and achieve this experience together. We at CrazyLabs create this environment.”
The advantages CrazyLabs provides to these studios are indisputably significant. Of course, some studios succeed by working alone. Even if these studios work alone, examining other studios and games will increase their chances of success.
Catching the Hyper-casual Trend
The hyper-casual game industry has a unique way of working. Hyper-casual games are based on trends, and they generally find success on short-lived themes that people around the world are interested in. Ideas such as social media trends, popular TV series, and current daily issues spread rapidly among large masses of people and then disappear. These trends are the lifeblood of hyper-casual games.
In this context, hyper-casual games do not always have to be based on original ideas. It can be profitable to redesign and launch an existing game with various additions and subtractions. Of course, we are not talking about exact replicas. Even if the idea is the same, making an original touch to the developed game is necessary. Otherwise, you may even be exposed to legal processes.
Hit game means a game that has caught the trend and has been successful. In this sense, catching the trend is the first and most important step of making a hit game. So what needs to be done to identify trends:
- Analysis of hyper-casual lists (Top Chart)
- Analysis of social media channels
- Analysis of popular TV series and themes
- Analysis of viral events
- Player expectations and motivations
Many more titles can be added to this list, but as a developer, if you take your game to a publisher, you should have paid attention to these items when designing the game. Once you’ve worked with a publisher, your publisher will likely give you even more significant advantages in trending.
Indicators of Success: CPI, Retention, Playtime
There are very few in the game industry who have not heard of CPI, retention, and playtime concepts. However, for those who do not know, let’s briefly explain these metrics:
CPI: It is a unit of measure that stands for Cost Per Install. Lower CPI means a less costly game. The lower the CPI of a hyper-casual game, the more successful it will be.
Retention: It is used to retain players. Retention value means that a user “re-enters the game.” It is measured at periodic intervals such as the first day, the thirtieth day, and the sixtieth day. High is interpreted positively.
Playtime: It means gaming time. It refers to how long a player has been playing in one session. It is measured in minutes or hours. High is interpreted positively.
Publishers always measure these values before investing in a game. Different publishers may have different expectations. Ultimately, these indicators need to show that the game can be “profitable”, as the main goal is to make a profit. It is difficult and expensive for developers to measure these metrics without working with a publisher. You can watch the details of which CPI, retention and playtime are successful for CrazyLabs from the panel video.
It’s Essential to Try Again
The vast majority of developers cannot achieve success with their first games. Sometimes it is necessary to shelve projects after the necessary tests have been carried out. It’s often pointless to insist on games with unpromising results on metrics such as CPI, retention, and playtime.
The On-Off team went through a similar process. When the metrics of the first game they developed did not show the desired success, they stopped the project and started to develop the Epic Hero Weapon Craft Masters game. Of course, this second title reached a greater success with the influence of its experiences in the first game.
After the first try, developers gain many benefits. Data from the first project can be a guide for the next game. In addition, bringing a project to the final stage, even if it is unsuccessful, will give developers self-confidence. Trying again and even again can be the key to success in the hyper-casual playground where the competition is extremely fierce.
You can find more in the panel videos we have prepared for you. Don’t forget to follow the Mobidictum Business YouTube channel!