UK game publisher Kwalee is set to pivot from hypercasual and into hybridcasual as the company seeks to diversify its revenue streams.
Kwalee have been facing increasing issues with hypercasual games, “making it an increasingly challenging genre to monetise, with higher CPIs and lower ECPMs becoming the rule rather than the exception.” Although the company is not dismissing hypercasual, it is hedging its bets by ensuring it can offer full service to hybridcasual developers. It’s especially notable given that Kwalee has seen much of their success and growth from hypercasual.
Head of mobile publishing, William Cox was positive about the shift. "We're thrilled to expand our games portfolio to include hybridcasual games. Our team has been working tirelessly to ensure that we can offer a full suite of services. We're excited to continue working with developers who have exceptional products but may lack the commercial or marketing capabilities to scale them globally."
Kwalee goes hybrid
Kwalee’s pivot to hybridcasual is to be expected from the views of other industry experts. Like Alex Shea who declared “Hypercasual is dead.” Although it may not be a collapse of an entire genre, he does argue that the appeal of hypercasual for players, publishers and developers is slowly wearing thin. With Voodoo having already established a casual and midcore publishing division in anticipation of hypercasual becoming less and less lucrative.
The reasoning behind hypercasual’s fall from grace can be surmised from what made it popular in the first place, that being the relatively easy production and low costs involved with creating short games, combined with appeal to a broad audience. However, as costs rise, the disposability and limited engagement of these games becomes a risk, as they make worthwhile monetisation harder to achieve.
Although, again, while hypercasual is unlikely to collapse spectacularly, its “gold rush” moment may have already passed. As Kwalee even seeks to educate its own studio on developing more hybridcasual games with webinars and more, it may be that other companies follow suit in expanding their focus.