Data & Research

Hypercasual downloads grew 20% in Q1 2021, with Simulation leading the charge

Crunching the data with App Annie

Hypercasual downloads grew 20% in Q1 2021, with Simulation leading the charge

This article is part of an ongoing series of data-driven articles from and App Annie highlighting trends in the global mobile games sector using App Annie’s app market data.

In this week’s column, we’re considering the ever-dynamic hypercasual sector.

Indeed, despite its considerable success, hypercasual downloads continue to grow - up 20 per cent year-on-year in Q1 2021.

“Hypercasual games offer a great entrypoint for the masses who may not consider themselves traditional ‘gamers’ by providing simple, intuitive gameplay mechanics and short sessions and typically monetize through advertising — perfectly suited for anywhere play from the portable gaming console always within reach: our smartphones,” points out App Annie’s head of marketing insights Lexi Sydow.

What’s fascinating about the sector is how quickly trends grow and then are - in turn - replaced.

“Runners/Racing hypercasual games made up five of the top 10 games by downloads, compared to only two a year ago and downloads have grown by 40%,” Sydow points out.

The #1 hypercasual game in Q1 2021 in terms of downloads was Join Clash 3D, published by IronSource’s label Supersonic.

It’s a runner game characterised by gathering the biggest crowd, racing through obstacles, clashing with rivals and capturing castles. It features bright colors, simple graphics and rewards for advancing through the levels.

The fastest-growing hypercasual subgenre, however, is Simulation; games which are characterised by simulating real life experiences through simple gameplay mechanics.

“It’s up 195 percent year-on-year — 10x the overall hypercasual market,” Sydow explains.

Phone Case DIY was the highest ranking simulation hypercasual game, which is all about creating your own phone cases, and was inspired after the developer spotted a viral trend for phone design videos on social media.

For more insight into the gaming sector, App Annie’s Game IQ is a vertically tailored analytics product that provides insight into dimensions such as class, genre, subgenre and tags. Games can now be analyzed by broad category class (tuning), genre, subgenre, and tags (modifiers) such as IP, art style, settings, monetization mechanic, and more.

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