News of past week, AppLovin made some genius operations on the stock market and announced they will probably sell their app business. Which include games. AppLovin is the owner of Lion Studios, a hypercasual games publisher.
Hypercasual games present a simple and very readable innovative mechanic. I worked on them for more than a year and I have to say that I see a similar approach to prototyping only in game jams and indie game development.
The business is not scalable anymore
Hypercasual games are part of the free-to-play business model, but heavily based on ads. The player acquisition cost has to be inferior to the ad revenue for the game to work. Then, a successful game has to scale and grow. That translates in moving a large number of people from game to game, optimizing the acquisition costs. Apple completely destroyed this concept with new privacy policies. So that hypercasual seems not to be a viable business model anymore.
Snackability, YouTubability and other important abilities
Working on hypercasual games, a game designer really understands the importance of the fundamentals. A good hypercasual game is understandable also from a single screenshot of the game. I was always fascinated by this concept, it’s like a jump into the past where the games were simple and colorful. People chose them just walking in a mall or in an arcade room giving a fast hint.
We often forget the importance of the readability of game mechanics. Mobile phones are in the pockets of a huge variety of people. If we want to broad our audience and include everyone, we should focus on delivering a fun experience without loading too much the cognitive systems of our players.
Successful hypercasual games are parodies of real life. I spent hours on social media taking inspiration for new crazy mechanics. I found this awesome. In the industry, in fact, we have the tendency in thinking in games in old terms: dragons, magic, warriors, jumping Italian plumbers and so on.
Hypercasual opened a whole new World to me!
Working on hypercasual, finally, helped me understand a lot of secrets of Unity3D engine. It is great, since the work is very technical. I don’t have to prepare too many docs and presentation, just focus on the game feel of a single concept.
I will always be thankful! This is a game I helped creating, one of the (few) hits we had: