Go Hyper: Why Your First Game Should Be Hyper-Casual

Anthony G. Pascale | September 17, 2020
Lead User Acquisition & Monetisation Executive (Guest Author)

In our Campfire Stories, we spotlight Appi Campers and share their stories in their own words. In times like these where we are adapting to new circumstances every day, we invite you to get to know us and lean on our community- the app marketing experts and your camp friends- as we continue to grow, step forward, and learn together as a community.

Anthony Pascale’s Campfire Story

Anthony Pascale is the Lead User Acquisition and Monetization Executive for Kwalee, a hyper-casual gaming company headquartered in the United Kingdom. Anthony was named “Marketer of the Year” in 2019 by Kwalee and has helped with the development of Big Battle as well as the growth of Draw It, Rocket Sky!, and Jetpack Jump.

Learn more about Appi Camper,  Anthony Pascale.

Go Hyper!

As the UA and Monetization team lead at the UK’s biggest hyper-casual mobile games publisher, I’m always in direct contact with the business performance of our games and I have to keep abreast of all the developments in the market.

This is great for me since it’s something I take a keen interest in any way, and like many of you reading this I have a dream to start my own games company one day. 

Games have played a massive role in my life from the very beginning, with my mom regularly playing SNES games while pregnant with me! I began gaming myself from an early age, and I knew I wanted to work in the industry from around the age of 10. 

But, as with any budding gaming entrepreneur, the biggest question is where to begin. The world of video games is extremely diverse and the outlook changes dramatically depending on the platform, monetization model, genre, and much more. 

Although I believe everyone should let their individual areas of interest and expertise guide them, my advice to anyone who is unsure about where to begin their journey in game development would be this: go hyper!

But Why?

There are several reasons that hyper-casual is a particularly attractive route for developers making their first game. For starters, hyper-casual games require only small development teams and initial investment. As funding is the major challenge for most developers (whether sourced externally or internally), this is a huge benefit of hyper-casual games.  

Not only are hyper-casual game development teams small, but the development times are also short. All teams, but especially ones working together for the first time, will learn a lot about efficient collaboration from this process as they work together to create numerous prototypes and execute ideas quickly.

This has team-building advantages, but it also means that you can get a game on the market very quickly, allowing you to gain money and attention much more easily than if you were laboring over your first game for several months or even years.

And if you do eventually decide that you want to move onto larger-scale projects, the processes you have honed through hyper-casual development will continue to serve you well!

The Right Marketing Strategy

But when it comes to marketing strategy, in particular, this is where it makes sense to get help from those who know the hyper-casual world inside out and will invest strategically inefficient user acquisition that will work for you. The UA landscape is ever-changing and the channels are numerous. When it comes to different targeting specifications, retargeting strategies or brand marketing in general, these are areas that it’s difficult to be 100% focused on when you’re first and foremost a game developer.

Making a game is already a lot of work, and making the right decisions when it comes to marketing channels is another massive challenge to take on without the intervention of specialists. 

It’s a Publisher’s Game

Hyper-casual publishers know what is required to top the charts and have the power to market your game on a scale that would be impossible for most startups acting alone. With us in particular, we also have a development team that has shipped multiple number one games and will be on-hand to help you overcome any design roadblocks you may face.

Independent developers working with publishers to launch their games more effectively is nothing new or unique to hyper-casual mobile games. That said, the reliance on hyper-casual games on an efficient marketing strategy makes the role of a publisher even more significant in this context. 

Unlocking Your Game’s Potential

The good news is that all publishers are open to submissions and constantly looking for fresh new games, so it could not be easier to strike up a relationship with these companies to help unlock your game’s potential. 

Of course, if you’re lucky enough to have marketing expertise in-house, it’s still technically possible to make a splash in the hyper-casual mobile market by yourself. Although, naturally, it will be much more difficult. The marketing budget required to make a good profit margin on hyper-casual games is far higher than most developers have access to, making it a simpler and less risky proposition to get into a publishing contract with a company that is entirely geared towards supporting these kinds of marketing activities. This can serve as a brilliant springboard for your company, either to continue this partnership or to build on these lessons elsewhere.

Those determined to self-publish have the best chance of success by getting funding and any other forms of support they can get, for example from an ad network. 

So all this is what makes hyper-casual such a great place to start your game development journey, but do not forget that making games are supposed to be fun! This is why we love hyper-casual, as it’s so varied and allows us to try out so many creative new ideas, but you need to find what you enjoy and make the games that feel best suited to the skills you have in your team.

If that happens to be hyper-casual, enjoy the ride ahead and feel free to introduce yourself to us!