In the ever-evolving landscape of mobile gaming, the once-dominant hyper-casual games are facing a transformation. The dawn of a new era is upon us, marked by the emergence of hybrid casual games. These games are redefining the way players engage with mobile games, bringing a fresh perspective to the industry.
The Demise of Hyper Casuals
Hyper-casual games, known for their simple mechanics and quick gameplay loops, once ruled the mobile gaming world. However, as player expectations evolve, so does the need for more engaging and intricate experiences. The death knell for hyper casuals rings in the form of hybrid casual games, which offer a dynamic fusion of genres and multifaceted gameplay.
Differences Between Hyper Casuals and Hybrid Casuals
Hyper casual games often rely on a straightforward approach with minimalistic designs and easy-to-understand mechanics. In contrast, hybrid casual games break away from this mold by incorporating elements from various genres. The marriage of diverse gameplay mechanics creates a richer and more immersive experience for players.
The Essence of Meta Layers
Hybrid casual games leverage meta layers to enhance player engagement and prolong playtime. These layers introduce additional complexities, such as progression systems, social features, and narrative elements, adding depth to the gaming experience.
Unlike hyper casuals that focus on immediate gratification, hybrid casuals prioritize long-term player retention.
Examples of Meta Layers
A Big example of Meta Layers is Warcraft Rumble, a mobile PvP game developed and published by Activision Blizzard. The game could very well have only implemented the main battle mechanic, however, this would have made the progression system quite dull and non-interesting. This blog post by Overgear talks about the leveling system present in the game.
Here are 3 different examples of meta layers that can be added to your games.
Progression Systems: Hybrid casuals implement intricate progression systems that reward players for continuous engagement, encouraging them to explore various aspects of the game.
Social Integration: Integrating social features allows players to connect with friends, join communities, and collaborate, fostering a sense of belonging within the game.
Narrative Elements: Hybrid casuals often incorporate storytelling elements, creating a compelling narrative that unfolds as players progress, keeping them invested in the game world.
Unlike hyper casual games where prototypes were developed and tested every 2 to 3 weeks, hybrid casual game development is a more meticulous process.
The initial minimum viable product (MVP) takes longer to develop, typically spanning 2 to 3 months. This extended timeframe allows for the thoughtful integration of diverse gameplay elements and meta layers.
Testing and Soft Launch
Initial testing for hybrid casuals may involve quick fake tests to determine click-through rates (CTR) and calculate possible cost-per-install (CPI).
However, playtime and retention require a more advanced product for testing. These metrics are crucial and can only be accurately assessed during a soft launch, showcasing the game to a limited audience for comprehensive feedback.
As the mobile gaming landscape shifts towards hybrid casual experiences, Yellow Panda Games stands as a leading outsourcing studio, specializing in mobile and web games. If you are looking to develop and maintain your own games with a focus on long-term player engagement, get in touch with us.
Embrace the new era of mobile gaming, where hybrid casuals reign supreme, and let Yellow Panda Games help bring your vision to life.