Our own, Pawel Pochowski shares his takeaways from Hyper Games Summit.

Hyper Games Summit was a small conference focused mainly on hypercasual games, but attracting a couple of larger players (like SuperSonic, AZUR GAMES, Kwalee, HOMA Games). There were also smaller developers and service providers, mostly in-game analytics and monetization.

Although it wasn’t a huge event, I would recommend it (look out for the next Warsaw edition) as it’s a good opportunity to meet with business developers and representatives from all kinds of companies, as well as catching up with friends in the local game industry.

A big topic was how hypercasual and hybridcasual games are evolving, and what tactics are going to work in the future. Here are my takeaways from key talks and conversations:

Hypercasual. Is it dead?

Rumors are that hypercasual is dead. But people have been saying that for five years and the genre is still everpresent. So that may not be the case, but it’s definitely evolving.

Hypercasual and hybridcasuals – are those genres?

One very interesting perspective on hyper games and hybrid games was that those are, in fact, not genres. There are casual games, but when it comes to hyper/hybrid – it’s a business model not a genre in itself.

The hyper-hybrid evolution

Most people agree the market for these games has changed and evolved a lot recently. Publishers aren’t racing to reach the top of the downloads charts regardless of profit – so we’re seeing a lot of them now investing more in content, in-apps and LTVs in their products. 

This is also how hybridcasual games were born, but does it mean hybrid games will kill hyper games in the future? Not necessarily, because hypercasual games are perfect for a quick session for your metro journey (or, ahem, a bathroom break). Basically, any time players just want short, simple entertainment.

But we’ll see more games with decent KPIs grow with content for bigger ones – i.e. hybrid – products. Which is how hyper and hybrid are starting to merge. Good hyper games can evolve into hybrid products, but it doesn’t mean that hybrid games will replace hyper altogether. Hyper are doorways for hybrids, but there will always be a need for simple, quick gameplay.

Hybridcasual as the answer to recent market problems

So both types of games offer something different and need other frameworks. HOMA Games said they’re ready to support higher CPIs (up to $1.2) because with good KPIs (like d0 30 minutes session time) and LiveOps (very important!) they’re still seeing good returns.

At the same time, hypercasual is a test field for new prototypes and gameplay mechanics. If the market likes them, devs and publishers are adding more mechanics and content to switch these games into hybrid ones.

Hybrids are also better fit for recent market problems with growing CPIs -– because you can composite high CPI with strong LTV and retention and that’s what dev and pubs are doing recently instead of testing massive numbers of prototypes. What does this mean?

It’s not about game growth anymore, but about profitability. 

The game dev industry thought it was separate from global economics and its problems, but since last year we’ve seen that’s not the case.

That’s also why a lot of them are especially focused recently on the economic behavior of players – not just when it comes to in-apps but rewarded videos as well.

Giants are closing the gaming space

With upcoming data policy changes in Android, costs may still go up. Tracking players will be more difficult on Android and in the end, it will be even harder to have users’ data and be effective in the future. That’s why giants are closing this space for themselves and it will be even harder for smaller companies to compete with them in the future.

With this very competitive market and other ongoing changes, our industry will become even more data-driven and more challenging. From a marketing point of view, developers and publishers will need more creativity than ever, to find new ideas for advertising games.

What about AI in gaming?

AI will make creating games easier for people who don’t know how to do it (if you’re not a programmer for example), so smaller devs and publishers will face even tighter competition in the future.

At the same time, it doesn’t mean newcomers will necessarily have the knowledge and resources to scale those games on the market with paid campaigns. 

So, that was Games Summit. Thanks to the organizers, who did a great job. We’ll be attending ChinaJoy next, so stay tuned for more insights from Shanghai.

Author: Pawel Pochowski,  Business Development Representative.