What are hypercasual games?

Hypercasual games are a new genre of games that is taking the world by storm. They combine hyper-simple gameplay, hyper-short duration, and hyper-social features to create an entirely new gaming experience.

These types of games are perfect for Generation Z who live on their phones and prefer instant gratification over longer, more immersive experiences.

We will cover what hypercasual games are, how they rose to popularity with Gen Zers, and why hyper casuals should be on your radar as well!

What is a hypercasual game?

Hypercasual games are defined by a few factors: 

  • simple gameplay
  • short duration
  • social features

The gameplay is hyper-simple – it can be learned in seconds and doesn’t require any tutorials or guides. The games are designed to be played in quick bursts, with most lasting only a few minutes.

The social features are what set these games apart from traditional titles. Most hypercasual games feature leaderboards, challenges, and other ways for players to compete against each other.

Together, these factors create an experience that is perfect for Gen Zers who want something fast and addictive that they can play on their phones whenever they have a free minute.

The rise of hypercasual games

Hypercasual games have essentially been around since Pong, but they’ve only recently started to make a real impact on the gaming market. This is largely due to the fact that hypercasual games are perfect for mobile devices. The simple controls and lack of any real learning curve makes a hypercasual game perfect for a hyper-connected world where consumers want instant gratification.

The sheer volume of hypercasual games on the market has made it really hard to stand out, but developers are coming up with some creative ways to make their hypercasual games unique and addicting. And as more people move away from traditional gaming platforms like consoles and PCs, hypercasual games are filling the gap and becoming the new gaming norm.

Gen Z is a key demographic for hypercasual games. They are always connected and always on the go, so hypercasual games are the perfect fit for them. In fact, some hypercasual game developers are specifically targeting Gen Z in their marketing campaigns.

As hypercasual games continue to grow in popularity, we can expect to see even more innovative and exciting titles hitting the market.

How did hypercasual games gain popularity?

Gen Z has embraced hypercasual games faster than any other generation due to some specific characteristics:

  • hypercasual games are the perfect blend of video game and mobile app genres. They’re easy to learn but hard to master, which keeps players hooked.
  • hypercasual games are designed for short bursts of gameplay. This fits in perfectly with Gen Z’s busy lifestyle.
  • hypercasual games feature social elements that appeal to Gen Zers who want to connect with their friends online.

From a development standpoint, the vast number of hypercasual games released can be attributed to the following factors:

  • developers have only needed a small team and limited resources to create hypercasual titles- this has made the genre very appealing for indie devs.
  • hypercasual games are perfect for mobile devices because of their simple controls and quick gameplay sessions. This means that players don’t need to spend time setting up or learning how to play the game which can be a barrier for some gamers.
  • Finally, as mentioned earlier, hypercasual games are easy to get into as they focus on one specific mechanic that scales in a refined way. This keeps players engaged over a longer period of time than expected.

How did hypercasual games become popular with Gen Z?

Hypercasual games first started gaining popularity in 2017 when they began to appear in the top-grossing charts on app stores. This was due to two factors. An increase in phone processing power that allowed for better graphics and gameplay, and changes in how people were spending their time.

In general, people have less free time than ever before and are looking for shorter, more engaging experiences. Hypercasual games perfectly meet this need by providing quick bursts of entertainment while also being extremely accessible.

What are some of the most popular hypercasual games?

There are a number of legendary hypercasual games that have achieved massive success, such as Fruit Ninja, Crossy Road, and Candy Crush. All three of these games were released prior to 2017 but continue to be among the top-grossing apps on app stores thanks to their simplicity and addictive gameplay.

The hypercasual market is expected to continue growing exponentially in the coming years, with hundreds of hypercasual games scheduled for release throughout 2022.

With Gen Z making up more than 25% of gamers today and this demographic continuing to grow rapidly, hypercasual game developers are working hard on releasing new titles that will appeal to younger players while also being extremely accessible – most hypercasual games can be played with one hand.

Older generations also find these types of quick casual games appealing as they’re typically easy enough for anyone who has ever picked up a mobile phone or tablet before.

With the continued rise in popularity of smartphones worldwide (smartphone penetration reached 78% globally in 2020), it seems like hypercasual games may be here to stay.

How do hypercasual games compare to other mobile gaming formats?

Hypercasual differ from many traditional mobile gaming formats in two important ways: 

  • Their format is perfectly suited for short play sessions
  • The gameplay doesn’t rely on either skill or strategy

While these attributes make hypercasual appealing across all demographics, Gen Zers who want to connect with friends and family over games may prefer hypercasuals to other genres.

Most important hypercasual games are quick to access and easy to put back down if someone needs the device for something else. Hypercasual games allow gamers to quickly pick up a game when standing at a bus stop, waiting for a friend, or simply on their lunch break.

Why are hypercasual games popular with developers?

The primary reason why hypercasual games are popular with developers is because of their low production costs. The games are typically created with simple graphics and few animations, meaning they can be developed by a small team in a relatively short amount of time.

This also allows hypercasual developers to experiment with new ideas and gameplay mechanics more frequently than other genres, increasing the chances that one of their games will become a hit.

The low cost/small team approach to developing a hyper-casual game also allows smaller developers to quickly create and distribute a game with minimal overhead costs.

These factors have made hypercasual games one of the most popular genres in the app store, with games like Flappy Bird and Candy Crush Saga becoming global sensations.

The rise of hypercasual games signals an important underlying shift in how consumers expect to interact with video game developers, publishers and marketers.

As audiences grow savvier about exchanging personal information for free or discounted services, hypercasual gameplay can be found across both mobile apps and online PC/console titles.

What does the future hold for hypercasual games?

The popularity of hypercasual games is only going to continue growing in the years ahead. More and more developers are getting on board with the genre, creating new and innovative hypercasual games that can be enjoyed across all devices.

Want to find out more about designing hyper-casual games?

Watch this video in which Ioana Cazacu of Mojiworks, shares with you valuable insights into the social gaming behaviors of the younger generation, and how they go about designing their games with community input. Ioana deconstructs their game Ready Chef Go! that has been played by over 70 million Snapchatters. She also talks about how their data-oriented approach helped them build features that their Gen Z audience loves.