For an introduction to super casuals, check out “What Are Super Casual Games?“.
Since Flappy Bird achieved viral fame in January of 2014, the super casual genre has proven to be more than just a trend. More publishers are sharing information that proves the genre’s commercial viability, but are super casual games the right choice for you? Consider the following.
1. They’re Fast
In an interview with gaminginsiders.com, Andy Sum of Hipster Whale said:
Crossy Road was made in about 3 months by myself and Matt. We worked pretty consistently on it for that time.
On the other side of the spectrum, Flappy Bird was put together in less than three days using spare art from a cancelled title. Unlike progression-based games which rely on a wealth of pre-designed content, super casuals only need enough assets for a single core game loop. Obviously more time can be invested in adding polish, but production on super casuals is extremely flexible and can quickly move from alpha to beta to release.
2. They’re Cheap
For the same reasons that they don’t take long to develop, super casuals can be much less expensive. If you’re an independent developer in need of art assets, you can pick up everything you’d need from an online marketplace without ever having to share revenue. If you’re a publisher partnering with an external developer, you can look forward to setting fewer milestones with much smaller payouts.
3. They’re New
Even with the flood of Flappy-Bird clones that followed the game’s success in 2014, super casuals are still a relatively new and unexplored genre. Features like character customization, RPG mechanics, or synchronous/asynchronous multiplayer have yet to collide with the super casual formula.
Crossy Road, one of 2014’s most influential titles, took super casual gameplay and experimented with art and design and became hugely successful. By adding rewarded video ads and pop-culture references to the genre staples of short session times and minimalist mechanics, they’ve been able to generate over 10m in revenue since the game’s launch in November of 2014.
4. They’re Easily Monetized
Super casuals typically generate revenue from superficial IAPs and ads. In order for ads to perform well, they need to be high-quality, relevant to their audience, and plentiful. This requires what’s called an “ad waterfall” that cycles through different providers, each with their own SDK that needs to be integrated and kept up to date. This can get tricky when you start dealing with high amounts of traffic from all over the world.
Fortunately, there are managed mediation solutions (like ours) that will optimize your ads to perform well anywhere in the world. Working with a mediation partner means offloading management of your ad waterfall to another company who make sure ads perform well in exchange for a share of the revenue they generate. The goals of the publisher and the mediator are aligned and the publisher gets to focus on the quality of their games while the mediator focusses on ad performance.
Publishers of all sizes work with mediation partners, and most offer the option of manually controlling your ads if you ever decide that you’re ready to take on the work yourself.
5. Low Risk, High Reward
The fact that a two-developer team like Hipster Whale were able to create a product in 3 months that produced over 10m in revenue should be reason enough to pay attention to super casuals. At standard developer salaries, Crossy Road would cost about $37,500 from front to back, which translates to more than a 26,000% return on investment. Crossy Road may be an outlier, but with such low development costs, the potential rewards far outweigh the minimal risk.
Do you have experience publishing a super casual game? Would you recommend it to others? Let us know in the comments, or tweet us @FusePowered.