We asked all of our gaming experts at CrazyLabs to share their top predictions and trends for 2024 in the mobile gaming industry. Below, each department shares their insights:
“The mobile gaming industry is changing significantly, especially within the hybrid-casual games sector. The reasons for this are the market's saturation with hyper-casual games; specifically, the challenges of releasing new hyper-games in the current market. It’s also important to note that beyond the maturation of the player base, a key driver for change is the demand for more robust progression mechanics.
We’re also seeing a notable shift in monetisation strategies, with hybrid-casual games leaning more towards in-app purchases, signaling a departure from traditional reliance on ad revenue.”
Eitan R., VP of Product (Hybrid)
“The era of pursuing "low cost-per install (CPI)" for user acquisition is over; cheap installs no longer yield the desired results. The focus has shifted to return on ad spend (ROAS) campaigns and post-install event optimisation. Instead of just targeting the cheapest users available, our strategy now involves leveraging in-app ads (IAA) and in-app purchase (IAP) revenue to optimise ad spend, emphasising returns. This approach enhances campaign management effectiveness and ensures a higher-quality user base.
On another note, in 2024, we expect major changes in user acquisition dynamics due to the implementation of the new privacy changes of Apple's SKAN 4.0 and Google's Privacy Sandbox. The landscape is evolving and will have a significant impact on the future of user acquisition.”
Nimrod K., VP of User Acquisition
IDEATION & PRODUCT DESIGN
“In 2024, we anticipate the following trends:
- Personalisation: Players want to express their creativity and personalize their game experience. An effective way to achieve this is by allowing customization of game elements, such as avatars and accessories.
- Social playing: Players want to play and experience games together, and this can make social gaming, player-versus-player (PvP), and party gaming become more prominent aspects of the traditional mobile games we know and love.
- Trending themes:
- As always, money will remain a common theme, personalised with a charming touch that connects with everyone.
- Materials like liquids, slime, jelly, or similar combinations and textures.
- Niche sports will be in the spotlight, and old, nostalgic game mechanics are expected to find their 2024 angle, making a comeback in a more mature form that aligns with the changing behaviors of new players.”
Moria, T., VP of Creative & Product Design
“There are three major trends that we started seeing in late 2023 that we believe will continue and strengthen in 2024:
- AI: In 2024, AI will be an all-star member of creative marketing teams. AI enables marketers to craft the perfect visual stories through eye-catching icons and store materials to detailed storyboards for video ads, and beyond. Creatives must master the use of available AI tools to stay ahead.
- Longer-form ads: In the past, game ads typically ranged from 10 to 30 seconds in duration. However, we've observed a positive impact on performance with ads lasting around 60 seconds.
- High-quality produced ads: These ads show a higher level of production, incorporating more polished features that could be made with Blender over Unity, all while still reflecting the core game.
- Playable ads: A winning approach we've noticed is focusing on longer-form playable ads (e.g., 60+ seconds), leading to a boost in engagement and attracting players with higher lifetime value (LTV).”
Raquel K., Head of Creative Marketing, and Creative Marketing Team
“Considering the industry shift (from hyper-casual moving towards hybrid-casual), I expect publishers to adjust their monetisation strategy with a more focused approach, while maintaining a stable model where in-app purchases (IAPs) and subscriptions become increasingly dominant in the overall strategy.
Additionally, since it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to release new games, I expect advanced player segmentation to play a key role in maximising the potential. The surge in hybrid-casual gaming inevitably influences income tied to in-game advertising (IAA) monetisation. In response, I expect game publishers to look for creative, non-intrusive solutions to maximise the ad revenue potential, as well as increasing the strictness and focus around ads quality and behavior, especially in hybrid-casual games.”
Igor I., VP of Ad-Monetisation
AI & INNOVATION
“In 2024, AI and gaming, particularly in hyper and hybrid-casual genres, are positioned for breakthroughs. The emergence of 'Multimodality,' a new trend enabling AI to analyse audio and video together will revolutionise AI inputs. For example, a video of a beach activity could inspire a complete banana pool-float runner hyper-casual game idea equipped with a game design document, visual assets, sound effects, and even user acquisition ads.
Additionally, next-gen Text-to-Video will change AI output technology, transforming game advertising and cutscene creation from simple text. These innovations, initially tools for creating references, could significantly speed up game testing cycles, the development process, and aligning game concepts with emerging trends.”
Nir M., Director of AI & Innovation
“The rapid growth of generative AI will have a significant impact on the work of data engineers, BI developers, and analysts in 2024. This is because tools like ChatGPT can analyse data per request, while other AI tools can create SQL queries or build dashboards with simple text requests from the user.
Data experts will need to ensure that the data they supply to the organisation is compatible with these AI tools and let go of some of their current roles, such as building ad-hoc queries or providing simple analysis. Instead, they will need to redirect users to an AI tool that can handle these tasks with high confidence levels and focus on the more complex tasks the field offers.”
Yifat S. VP of Data
DATA & ANALYTICS
“As seen in 2023 players are gravitating towards more ‘familiar games’, creating a more challenging landscape for new games to break through, which is expected to continue in 2024.
This shift demands a highly accurate analytics approach early on in understanding the targeted demographics. This approach can be implemented by delving deeper into the early user funnel, specifically examining how players interact with the game features while balancing the economy. This will ultimately result in more refined products and larger investments from the companies, even during the soft launch phase.
Moreover, lower penetration in the new games market, coupled with increased advertising competition is expected to result in continuous shrinkage of the organic user market.
For all but a very few industry giants, this will necessitate focusing on profitable user acquisition as the primary strategy for achieving a positive overall game return on investment.”
Gjorgji M., Head of Analytics and Data Science
“The introduction of ROAS-based user acquisition campaigns has shifted the complexity and sophistication of optimizing campaigns from the publisher to the ad networks. This leaves publishers free to focus on the one element with the most impact: creatives. In 2024, the ability to test and optimise creatives will have a critical impact.
The era of relying on Meta to identify promising concepts is over. Publishers now need to combine insights from multiple sources before deciding which prototypes have the potential to become successful games.”
Uri D., VP of Product, Growth Platforms
As we step into 2024, the insights from CrazyLabs' gaming experts paint a picture of the evolving mobile gaming industry. From the rise of hybrid-casual games to the shift in user acquisition strategies and innovations in the artificial intelligence space, the industry is set for a transformative year.