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Devian

Selling Hyper Casual or Casual Mobile Games

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Posted (edited)

Hello everyone !

Im doing a research for a future StartUp in Mobile Game Dev and got to a point of defining our short, medium and long term strategy. We are a small team of two developers, doing mostly products for other company's, not Game Development, and we plan to start doing Mobile Games. Based on the market trends and statistics, Casual and Hyper Casual games are most ”in demand” now, so we decided for the first period of time, for the short term, to focus on Developing Hyper Casual and Casual games. There is lot to cover but for now, lets simplify the task.

Input:

  • 2 Developers;
  • Software = Unity;
  • Platform = Mobile (Android and IOS).
  • Time to develop a product = 1-2 months.
  • Marketing budget = 1000-3000 USD.
  • Product type = Freemium Hyper Casual Games

 

  1. Is there any way to have an income (1000-5000$/per game), without a publisher and using from 0-2000$ for marketing ? Im talking about real examples not ”luck” or some ”hype miracles”.
  2. How to sell those Hyper Casual in the best way (the most profitable way) ? Any Ideas ? Any experiences ?
  3. If not Hyper Casual then what else ?
  4. Is there any way to sell games without investing millions into marketing and being a successful business ? Success = (Invested money) x 2  
  5. There are Millions of Hyper Casual Games on the market, how to stand out ? 
  6. One friend suggested us to create games for PC and publish them on Steam instead of Mobile, and focusing more on Casual games, with a longer time of development. What do you think about this idea, is it worth it or not ? Mobile platforms are more accessible comparative to PC... 

By the way, don't get me wrong, I like Good Quality Games, but in this market, ”a good game is a well marketed game"...

Also

If anyone have any other Ideas of how they would start or manage this business, please let me know. Any experience/opinion matters. 

Thank you in advance ;) 

Edited by Devian

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Hi, Devian. I had to look up "hyper casual" (it means what I figured it meant) and on the search results, there was https://www.ironsrc.com/blog/what-are-hyper-casual-games-and-how-do-you-monetize-them/ - if you haven't read that, it looks worthwhile for you.

4 hours ago, Devian said:

Time to develop a product = 1-2 months.

That's not enough time to develop a casual (hyper or not) game. 3 months minimum.

4 hours ago, Devian said:

Is there any way to have an income (1000-5000$/per game), without a publisher

Lots of devs self-publish. You posted this in Production and Management. See self-publishing threads in the Business and Law forum. In fact, it looks like all your questions are about Business - not about producing a game. So this is going to move to the Business forum. 

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45 minutes ago, Tom Sloper said:

 

Lots of devs self-publish. You posted this in Production and Management. See self-publishing threads in the Business and Law forum. In fact, it looks like all your questions are about Business - not about producing a game. So this is going to move to the Business forum. 

Thank you, is there a way to redirect this question to that forum or I have to copy-paste it ?

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Hello @Devian,

since you posted your questions almost 2 months ago, could you share your thoughts on this topic?

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Hello @Pastew, 

It was a long time since I have asked this question... I have lots of information gained since then. 

Short version will be next:

Make a ”pilot” game, publish it and see the reaction. Also invest at least 100-200$ for marketing (AdSense, Unity Ads, Fb, Instagram or whatever you find more convenient) just try to test it all and see which one works the best for your type of game. This will give you a clear view on the numbers and the whole process of selling games. Focus in the beginning on Hyper Casual cause it is faster to create, maybe something 2D, also because it is faster to create. Now you have an idea of how it all will work, whats good, what was bad in your production pipeline. From this point a real research is starting.

If you are a hobbyist and you just enjoy making ... something in Unity, thats totally ok. But if you wish to sell games, this is a completely another set of mind. Forget about ”my dream game that all the world will love...” and focus on ”How to Sell” or ”How it is being sold and why”. You will find out lots of interesting things like: long/short term strategy, Retention strategy, what is considered a pleasant art and which one is not, statistics and where to find it, who is selling it and for how much, how can you extract data from it and What the hell it all means for your strategy. This is relay fun.

On 3/20/2019 at 12:25 PM, Devian said:

There are Millions of Hyper Casual Games on the market, how to stand out ? 

It is and most of them will be forgotten after 7-30 days. Its good and bad at the same time. To stand out you need a ”good” game. By ”good” I mean = better then other games (10-30% better), with a new approach on some existent versions, with a better art (this is more important than you think, this is what sells at the first contact) and of course, make sure that you have your game well presented on Google Play or App Store - make that God Damn gameplay video !!! Those 30 seconds are very often a foot in the door.

Cruel reality...

Mobile games are made not for being played, they are made to sell other things, like Commercials and IAP-s. This is not a PC or Xbox/Playstation... In this type of business developers doesn't care about ”users desires”. They care about trands and if it brings money back. Thats why, if you see a good looking game, with no invasive commercials, with a story or something special in it, most probably created by some Indie developer, please download it and give it a chance ! That is a small spark of someone there who created if not for money but for pleasure, for you and me to enjoy !

On 3/20/2019 at 12:25 PM, Devian said:

Is there any way to have an income (1000-5000$/per game), without a publisher and using from 0-2000$ for marketing ? Im talking about real examples not ”luck” or some ”hype miracles”.

Yes it is possible and even for less money on marketing. As I said... The game has to be good or at least decent. Invest 200-500$ in marketing, after an update, invest more 200-500$ or create something new and do the same. ”If people see it, people will buy it...” 

What is a ”good” or ”decent game” ?

I compared a series of Hyper-Casual games like Helios Jump (clones). I could create a top 5 game chart from 5 different clones. Some of them were very different from the original, some were exactly the same or worse. This is what the chart looked like and why:

1. Original Game. - made by a very known brand with a good marketing campaign. (100.000.000 Downloads)

2. A decent clone - 10% difference between mechanics and a very fresh Artwork - fruits instead of just cylinders. Good music...(10.000.000 Downloads)

3. A so-so Clone - the same visual aspect, the same mechanics but with some new features - 2 skills available. (5.000.000 Downloads)

4. A bad clone of a clone - the same fruit style but with a very ugly art. (1.000.000 Downloads)

5. A bad clone of an original game - the same mechanics and art but more ugly. Unclear interface and ugly colors. (500.000 Downloads)

The less quality, the less downloads, the less earnings. 

 

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Thank you for your answer.

I have few more doubts, please share your thoughts.

1. What countries should I choose for first $200 investment on marketing, for the soft launch?

2. Let's assume 1st point went great. How to go from 1000 users to 100000 without heavy marketing investments?

3. How to complete step 2 before somebody clones your game and kill your's with marketing?

4. Maybe just don't try to publish by your own and just go to some big publisher?

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On 5/15/2019 at 6:54 PM, Pastew said:

1. What countries should I choose for first $200 investment on marketing, for the soft launch?

Rovio invest directly in USA. If it works there, ”it will work everywhere else”. It also depends on your monetization model. If you have lots of intrusive ads in your game, then probably first 5-10 minutes of gameplay is the most important for you, also a player number is also important. The more players, the faster you will multiply your investment. Its like this: invest 1$ for one user and earn 1.10$ back from him watching ads. As long as you don't lose money on it, why not to invest ? In this cause just pick the most ”cheapest” place on Earth, pretty sure you will find a list on google. (That's what I would do...)

On 5/15/2019 at 6:54 PM, Pastew said:

2. Let's assume 1st point went great. How to go from 1000 users to 100000 without heavy marketing investments?

Dude... you need money... otherwise you will need to become very active on promoting your game on all the known pages and with all free methods you can find. As I said... The game can be good or decent but imagine this: someone just gives you 2 stars on Google Play and your game automatically not in top. What do you do then ? The game is still good, but people don't see it anymore. If your retained players are still playing your game and you earn money - great ! Soon it will go down anyway (day 15, 30, 60 or 90). You will have to keep updating and investing in marketing to keep your player base. Otherwise you will need to use your player base and to launch another game - Version 2.0. ! :D That's very hilarious how some developers manage to stay on the float using the same mechanics and just publishing an improved version of the same game, again and again...

Anyway... Those from Rovio thins this way: If the game is not a hit in first 15 days, just drop it and do something else. Doesn't matter how much updates you will do, the game will not get significantly more users from that. You will have to learn to trust your own experiences with each game you make and publish.

On 5/15/2019 at 6:54 PM, Pastew said:

3. How to complete step 2 before somebody clones your game and kill your's with marketing?

Just like I described yearly-er... Even if someone will clone your game and kill it with marketing, you still have that small window 1-5 days to collect your cash ! After that - doesn't matter ! Yes they will remake your game in a new, maybe better, with cooler effects or graphics, but as long as you had something original, you will still have your audience. 

If I would be a "big fish" developer, I would probably ignore games that didn't earned at list 100.000 downloads. 

Hey, guess what !? That's an opportunity for you ! Next time when you create something cool and wish to publish it, you can write down those guys that cloned and marketed your last game ! Now you have something like "a food in the door", they now your last game and maybe you can manage a good deal for your next one ? Anyway it will be better than nothing. Even 10% of all the incomes that they can share with you is sometimes better.

On 5/15/2019 at 6:54 PM, Pastew said:

4. Maybe just don't try to publish by your own and just go to some big publisher?

Yessssss !!! :D 

Honestly, do you know when I would publish my own game ? 1. If I have money for marketing. 2. If the game is "special", something with meaning, something designed to attract a specific audience. Just remember Mountain Valley. At the beginning Ketchapp distributed it for free. The game was a hit, good graphics, good music, simple mechanics and it has a sort of story in it. Later, they put a price on it and on version 2 as well. Who the hell would like to buy that Version 2 if nobody would be able to play for free that first game ?

Look... Try to see yourself and your products as a Brand, as a symbol. Be the BATMAN of Game Dev ! :D Each of your product is an emotion, is an expression of your own vision and believes. Even if you have to do some games just for money, that's ok... But even in those games, try to place something of your own, something different then others and STAY CONSISTENT ! In time, people will associate your products with that certain quality or characteristics and they will download or buy your game cause they want that "Characteristics".

Publishers will help you at the beginning. They will chop off some of your "imperfections" and make you think "right". It doesn't mean you are selling your soul to them. It just mean that you are earning some experience and money to make your "dream game". Only in this scheme you will be able to do it right, not other way around. Especially if you are a beginner... Also it is for reputation. One day you can find a good friend or two and start a business together. You can create games for some other big or small company's and having an experience in being published by some other big company, will definitely work in your advantage. 

...

I wrote an entire book here  :D  again... :D Hope it will be useful for you. 

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