The video game industry is growing by the day with new game genres getting created too. Many advancing technologies have emerged over the years in this industry. As a result, game developers get the flexibility to create cutting-edge video games that can maximize user engagement.
Among the many different game genres, an emerging name is Hybrid Casual Games. The genre has a growing user segment with downloads hitting 5 billion in 2022. There is a year-on-year 3% increase in the download rate.
Read on to understand in-depth what makes hybrid casual games so popular. The shift towards this genre owes to various factors ranging from entertainment to finance.
Hybrid casual games are a rising genre that combines elements of hyper-casual games along with mid-core games. The game genre is easy to master but also has in-depth challenges and game mechanics that keep the users engaged. Such games have simple tap-to-play mechanisms but also include social features. Some of the elements of hybrid casual games include collection systems, long-term goals, better storylines, and so on.
The genre is fairly new in the market but has risen in popularity quickly. This is because the genre works fairly well for users who are not avid gamers but prefer a fair amount of challenge when they play. Games like Angry Birds, Archero, and Project Makeover fall under this category.
Hyper Casual and hybrid casual games are two different genres based on the features and characteristics of the game. While both genres have similar features, the engaging and moderately complex gameplay sets apart hybrid casual games.
The following are the primary differences between hyper-casual and hybrid casual games:
|Hybrid casual games
|Hyper casual games
|The games are comparatively complex and have various features from other game genres. Primarily hyper-casual and mid-core games are combined to create this genre.
|These are small games that have simple mechanics, and minimal graphics and are very easy to play- suitable for mindless gaming during leisure time.
|The target audience is larger and includes players who play games in their leisure time and enjoy a bit of a challenge.
|The target audience is almost everyone- including anyone who is not even an avid gamer.
|The game development process is moderately complex compared to hyper-casual games.
|The game development process is fairly simple and does not require a large team.
|The games are immersive and even feature a storyline. It also has social features that let you team up and even chat during gameplay.
|The games do not have any specific plotline or social engagement. The competition is fierce in this genre.
Hybrid casual games have particularly earned a reputation as a developer’s favorite genre because of the profitability and user retention rate of the games. The following are some of the key reasons behind the growing popularity of hybrid casual games among users as well as game developers:
The complexity of the game as well as the depth of the gameplay induces a sense of accomplishment among the users. They stay hooked by the surplus rewards that are there after every level. As a result, the hybrid casual games are comparatively more engaging. These games have new storylines, characters, and backgrounds which get unlocked with every level. This is another reason why the users do not get bored of the games.
The hyper-casual game market is already saturated and as a result, the competition is fierce. There is barely any hyper-casual game design that is yet to be explored. There is a single-core mechanic- it can be anything ranging from dunking a basketball to hitting the archery target.
However, such games witness a declining retention rate within weeks of players engaging with the game. This is where hybrid casual games stand apart. The games are comparatively more immersive and have engaging stories. As a result, user retention is high. Developers love the genre as the reach is maximized and the game remains relevant and playable for a longer time.
The diversity of characters, storylines, levels, monetization, core loops, and social features altogether make hybrid casual games more immersive. As a result, they have a higher retention rate compared to hyper-casual games. Such games can consistently retain the user’s curiosity and excitement. While the genre is relatively new, it has gained rapid popularity over the years primarily because the games are immersive and have improved retention.
Every game developer wishes their project has the maximum reach among the target audiences. Every level in hybrid casual games has exciting core game features and functionalities. Players keep coming back to the games because they have gripping plots and mechanisms. As a result, the end-user reach of such a game is maximized. The gameplay is richer as game developers bring more detailed graphics, a variety of characters, and game mechanics, which also help to improve end-user reach.
Hybrid casual games are characterized by their social features as well as the reward systems. Occasionally existing hyper-casual games can be upgraded to this game genre. The enhanced game mechanics of hybrid casual games make it a popular choice among users who enjoy the specific format. The following are two primary features of hybrid casual games that set apart this game genre:
The Hybrid casual games are set apart from hyper-casual games by the intricate social features. These games have features like a chat system, friend list, leaderboard, and so on. Players can interact with each other and even share their progress and challenge the others.
These elements can foster a sense of community among all the players. The users can compete as well as share their experiences. These game mechanics contribute to the popularity of the game as well as make it an immersive experience. As the sense of competition increases, it can enhance the retention and engagement of the game.
The hybrid casual games have an attractive reward system which becomes a significant incentive for the players to come back to the game. The rewards include login bonuses, in-game events, extra in-game tokens, in-app purchases, and so on. There are occasionally personalized rewards based on the player’s behavior.
This further makes the game engaging and ensures long-term retention of users. Game developers can use Unity and Unreal engines to streamline the reward system with the game mechanics. When the reward system is easy to access, it can also contribute to the popularity of the hybrid casual game.
Hybrid casual games display a mix of game mechanics. This is what makes it tricky to design as the game developer must have a clear conception of different game genres and their development. Almost all hybrid casual games have certain elements of hyper-casual gaming as well. This includes fast levels, a simple core loop, and addicting and quick pickup gameplay. But apart from that, it also has other varying mechanics like immersive gameplay, characters, and storyline.
Take the example of games like Project Makeover which is one of the latest and popular examples of hybrid casual games. The game is primarily a 3-match game like Candy Crush. However, it has a storyline. Every level comes with a different character with a backstory. The game remains engaging as people keep going at the 3-match levels to finally reach the makeover stages in the game.
The additional elements like strategy and skill-based challenges often vary from one game to another. Another game mechanic notable in hybrid casual games that contributes to its popularity is the various social mechanics. There are exceptions as well where the hybrid casual games do not have social mechanics.
However, almost all popular hybrid casual games have social elements like fighting against other players or playing alongside them. One of the notable social mechanics is guilds of players. The players have to form a team and even fight a boss character together which induces a sense of belonging for the users that keeps them engaged.
To keep any hybrid casual games engaging, it is crucial to create a progression system that is rewarding after every successful level completion. When players are given rewards with increasing levels and achievements, they are more likely to keep coming back. As a result, the retention rate of the game will increase too.
Moreover, creating an attractive progression system that is reward-based also pushes the players to complete the levels quickly and create new records. This in turn will tempt them to make in-game purchases to complete the levels quickly. Often in such games, if players are stuck at one point, they can purchase extra lives, bonus moves, and even time to finish the level.
However, while the pay-to-advance system can tempt players to make the purchases, pay-to-win mechanics usually turn them off. It is crucial to draw a line in terms of implementing the progression system so that it does not make players feel pressured in the process. The key is to make the progression fair and doable for the majority of the players. The paid perks would slightly boost the player rather than paving the way to win the game altogether.
The monetization system of hybrid casual games works best when the game can attract more and more users. It is crucial to analyze the game formats that have worked previously to figure out the best monetization strategies for such games. The key is to strike a balance such that monetization does not overpower its popularity.
When you have created a game that will attract maximum users, then comes strategizing monetization. It is important to figure out ways in which players are likely to spend money on the game without feeling pushed to do so. This will not only help to generate significant revenue from in-game purchases but also improve the retention rate of the game. As a result, game developers are less dependent on ads in hybrid casual game development formats.
Monetization methods like ads for extra boosts, the option to skip ads, and purchasing in-game currencies using real money are particularly popular. Other than this, seasonal boosts, and customized offers, are various monetization methods that keep the game immersive. In hybrid casual games, developers can integrate a mix of ads as well as in-app purchases. Thus, the game format can generate significant revenues.
The following are some of the games which are classic examples of hybrid casual games:
Archero is perhaps the first of the hybrid casual games. It was created in 2019 by Habby. The game features hyper-casual game mechanics. However, the users can upgrade and dress their characters with new weapons and outfits. Furthermore, players can use the monetization system to get various perks to overcome the hurdles in the game.
Homescape has a seamless blend of puzzles and simulation. There are several content layers in the game. Players can explore design customization, progression, and collection systems. The gameplay is tempting and the genre gives the realistic feeling of organizing and building a home space. As a result, the players would feel immersed in the gameplay naturally.
This game displays several genres like RPG, puzzle, and 4X strategies. It is a hyper-realistic game where players have to defeat virtual characters to enhance the tile through merging. There is scope to improve the characters, skin, and items through in-app purchases as well as other monetization methods. Just like mid-core games, players can move around in all directions.
Project Makeover is primarily a 3-match game with an engaging storyline. Players have to solve the puzzles to reach the makeover stages. There are monetization systems to progress faster in the game. The primary engaging feature of the game is the new stories and characters unlocked as you progress through every stage.
Juego Studios is one of the top game development companies that offer a variety of services. From mobile games to AAA games- we have game development as well as animation solutions for the users.
The end-to-end game development services offered by our seasoned professionals can give shape to your hybrid casual game development ideas. Superior technology like Unity, Unreal, HTML5, etc. are used by the top game developers. We have a seasoned team who specialize in the latest technology like NFTs, Blockchain, AR, VR, etc.
The hybrid casual game development genre is here to stay and grow. It is one of the rapidly growing genres that is gaining immense popularity for its immersive and engaging content. At the same time, such games are simple to master quickly and play at your leisure like hyper-casual games.
Juego Studios is an end-to-end game development company for hybrid casual games with seasoned developers on the team. Get full-cycle game development from top game designers in the industry.