Downloads for hybridcasual games hit five billion in 2022, representing a 3% year-in-year increase, according to a new report.
The figures come courtesy of games analytics firm Sensor Tower. In contrast, hypercasual downloads fell 15% over the same timeframe, suggesting that mobile gamers are growing more interested in more in-depth experiences. The report indicates that hybridcasual games heighten user engagement with a greater focus on narrative than hypercasual, which has long ruled the roost in terms of downloads.
Revenue for hybrid casual games has almost doubled over the past two years, increasing from $502 billion in 2020 to $974.6 billion in 2022. The report notes that “developers have mastered the balance between monetization and player experience. Ads in Hybridcasual games are often optional and are displayed in exchange for user awards. This advertising strategy allows the games to generate 50% of their revenue, without deterring users from playing.”
The power of engagement
Compared to hypercasual titles, hybrid casual games are designed to keep users playing for longer. The report compares 2022’s top hybridcasual game by downloads (Stumble Guys) with the top hypercasual title (Count Masters), and shows that Stumble Guys had an average playtime of 372 seconds in 2022, compared to 212 for Count Masters. This result is echoed in terms of the percentage of sessions exceeding one minute (80% for Stumble Guys compared to 68% for Count Masters), three minutes (63% and 47%) and 10 minutes (37% and 23%).
Hybridcasual games also pull ahead in terms of retention. Stumble Guys had 54% day one retention in 2022, compared to 42% for Count Masters. Both games then began to decline, with Count Masters falling to 11% while Stumble Guys fell to 27%, exactly half the day one rate. This downward trend continues on Day 30, (14% and 3%) and 60 (9% and 1%).
Taken together, it’s clear that hybridcasual games enjoy higher user engagement and a lower churn rate, with more players returning to the games more consistently.
One factor in this is the combination of hypercasual gameplay with casual elements; compared to hypercasual games, the hybridcasual genre lets developers experiment with combining different genres to offer a unique and novel experience to players. The possibility of introducing a stronger narrative element to the game has also led to a variety of subgenres emerging in the hybridcasual space which are rarer in the hypercasual space. Additionally, genres with established success in the hypercasual market, such as puzzles, can leverage the hybridcasual genre’s more in-depth mechanics to generate engagement, even as the hypercasual market contracts.
Despite the growing success of hybridcasual games, the hypercasual genre still topped the download charts in 2022.