Minigames and visual effects drive casual and simulation game marketing

New insights into the marketing of casual and simulation games reveals the latest techniques to generate impressions and installs

Minigames and visual effects drive casual and simulation game marketing

Creatives, marketing, advertising are all sides of the same coin. A weird three-sided coin perhaps, but there's no denying that they're inextricably linked. But understanding that interplay requires patience, and a lot of analysis.

Two genres we're going to dive into from SocialPeta’s latest report today are the simulation and casual genre.

Both are keystone genres of the mobile gaming landscape. Although “simulation” might seem an oddly hardcore genre at first, it covers virtually everything from business simulation to interactive fiction. While casual is a genre that we’re all familiar with.

Statistics, statistics, statistics.

SocialPeta's latest data begins with some statistics about the status of both genres in 2022. Simulation games were noted to have increased in downloads (+10.65%) and declined in revenue (-16.67%). Meanwhile, casual games had seen a similar situation with a YoY decrease in revenue (-11.26%) and increase in downloads (+8.56%).

Both simulation and casual games also saw an increase in the number of advertisers within the second-half of 2022. With +19.8% for Simulation and +6% for Casual compared to the first half of 2022, a respective +36.7% and +31% YoY. The slump in the second half of the year for Casual is interesting as it indicates a sharp decrease, suggesting lesser returns for advertisers compared to Simulation.

Case Studies

SocialPeta also took two case studies into account to offer insights into what key aspects creatives were utilising.

The first was Township (simulation), by Playrix. Where they identified key aspects, with a common theme of showing the building, levelling or cleaning up of the character’s town in the game. Consistent with the main appeal of simulation games, that being the increase of quality in the simulated aspect (i.e. SimCity or The Sims.) Generating an estimated 9m impressions and a popularity score of 994.

The second was Survivor!.io (casual), by Habby. A familiar game to us as we covered both its success and the arrival of its inspiration Vampire Survivors to mobile. They identified the exaggerated effect of weapons and a similar emphasis on upgrades and progression. Generating an estimated 13.9m impressions and a popularity score of 999.

Both examples take similar routes of emphasising the possibility and appeal of upgrading player characters and becoming more powerful as a result. The fact that Survivor!.io utilised real gameplay may have gone some way to explain why it earned a slightly higher popularity than Township. Which instead utilised pre-rendered representations of it’s minigames that some viewers might have found unconvincing.

Similarities and differences

Overall we can see that across many genres, including Simulation and Casual, the key aspects remain the same. Which is touching on basic human desires to see success and increased power, whilst altering creatives to ensure that it shows a specific example within the game itself to let them achieve that.

As we explore the rest of the SocialPeta report, we also looked at how Casual drew 28% of all advertisers according to their data. It’s interesting to note that Casual may remain ascendant even as Voodoo’s Alex Shea warned it’s sister genre Hypercasual may be on the decline in 2023.

Staff Writer

Iwan is a Cardiff-based freelance writer, who joined the Pocket Gamer Biz site fresh-faced from University before moving to the editorial team in November of 2023.