Hypercasual feels like a tag that has only been around for a couple of years, but in the mobile space, the genre has been dominating for over a decade.
As the mobile industry booms, more developers are looking to get it on the hypercasual wave, but the nature of these casual games makes them easy to pick up, and even easier to forget about.
As part of PGC Digital #5, Riley Andersen from Umami Games hosted a panel all about how to create long-lasting hypercasual experiences. She was joined by Klaus Kääriäinen from Jestercraft, Guillaume Cazelles from Homa Games, Anastasios Katopodis from Lightneer, and Nour Khrais from Maysalward.
During the panel, the guests addressed the components that make a hypercasual title thrive in a fast-moving market and their guidance on how to make sure your game will keep growing even under intense competition.
To kick off the chat, Andersen asked the group what makes a hypercasual game long-lasted from their point of view.
"What makes it everlasting for me is keep on experimenting," Klaus Kääriäinen said.
"The moment when you find yourself stuck into rules or not breaking the boundaries of development, that's when you're doing it wrong in a sense."
Anastasios Katopodis also adds that hypercasuals at their core are not so different from other genres.
The key is basically having happy and excited players," he said. "What will please the players, what will make them go back to the game?"
Nour Khrais also notes that the boom of hypercasual changed the industry's outlook on how games are developed and the teams behind them. The rise of casual games made women more visible to the industry.
"We always thought that males bring more business to the industry so we hired more men," he said.
"When hypercasual came, it boosted the female user base, it forced the industry to hire in a different way. We hired women over all development disciplines to shape the games because we need them, and that is an ever-lasting achievement."
Beauty and the beast
The panel also discusses the positives of hypercasual development. Khrais opened the discussion by highlighting how data-driven the space is, but how it's ultimately a positive for studios.
"When we all started, passion was our main driver. We are here for the beauty of games. We never thought about numbers and how much money we will make," he said.
"Today, it's data-driven with passion. But as developers, we need this beast, which is data. We need the data to maintain and sustain our businesses."
Kääriäinen comments on how accessible hypercasual is, which makes it easier for new players to come aboard.
"There has never been as many gamers as there are right now and it keeps rising," he stated.
"Games are easy to access, and the mobile device itself is accessible. The games are also accessible, there's not much of a learning curve to them."
Katopodis comments on the evolved relationship between publishers and developers, adding: "The relationship between publishers and devs has changed dramatically due to the fast paced nature of hypercasual. Projects are speedier, and terms have improved a lot between the two."
Andersen also adds that it is easier to create successful games with less staff inside hypercasual, due to how quickly a product can be developed and released.
"It's possible to make games that are profitable with small teams now, which wasn't as possible years ago," she said.
"Hypercasual has made it easier to get into the industry by working on smaller products."
PGC Digital #5 will run from February 8th to February 12th. To keep up to date with all of our coverage, check out the roundups here. There's still time to sign up - to find out more and book a ticket, head to the website.