Hypercasual is not dead - it's just marketing

Posted by Christopher Farm on June 06, 2023 · 4 mins read

There’s been some buzz lately around the idea that the hypercasual games market is dead. Several publishers have come forward expressing their belief that this genre, which birthed countless “snackable” games with basic graphics and simple mechanics, is on its last legs. However, despite these grim predictions, markets (and their learnings) don’t just disappear because “someone said so”. Here’s why:

1. Tons of ads don’t bother users

Hypercasual games demonstrated a powerful principle in mobile gaming: if you provide users with content they desire, they’ll willingly put up with ads. This model reveals an essential insight into the concept of product-market fit. Despite offering seemingly “low-quality” experiences, these games have attracted and retained millions (billions?) of users worldwide, proving that there’s a substantial market for this type of content.

It might seem counterintuitive for players to enjoy games bombarded with ads, but here’s the learning: users generally don’t care how apps get monetized as long as they deliver the content they seek. If players are engaged and satisfied by the gameplay, they are more than willing to sit through ads. Hypercasual games managed to cater to a user base that enjoys quick, casual gaming experiences. The enduring success of hypercasual games amidst a sea of ads is not a fluke; it’s evidence of a strong product-market fit.

2. User behavior is difficult to change

While it’s theoretically possible for all users to suddenly change their preferences and abandon hypercasual games, the reality is that user behavior is incredibly difficult to shift. Users want what they want, and it often takes a major upheaval to alter these preferences significantly.

The hypercasual genre offers unique value to users. These games provide quick, engaging experiences that don’t require a significant time investment. They’re perfect for filling in those idle moments throughout the day, like waiting for a bus or sitting through a TV commercial. This specific demand, for bite-sized entertainment that fits into busy schedules, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Moreover, human nature is habitual. Once users find something they enjoy, they tend to stick with it. The fact that hypercasual games have been popular for years suggests that they’ve become a part of many users’ routines. This ingrained habit is not something that will disappear overnight.


Despite the doom and gloom from some corners of the industry, what publishers are saying about the market’s death is conflated with what users indicate they want. Publisher businesses who build in the hypercasual space may find economic difficulties with their models or systems, but this has nothing to do with what gamers play. Instead, a better hypothesis is to consider how larger hypercasual publishers are starting to find difficulties in their business models. As the game developers are less willing to give up their games for UA expertise to publishers, margins for publishers are getting squeezed and those publishers have an economic incentive to push those same developers to make a different set of games that are more profitable for their own interests. If the developers figure out UA for themselves, it’s possible that hypercasual games will still get built.

Perhaps in another post I’ll break down the differences in launching a game as a publisher vs a developer of a game. Often times these are conflated, but it’s important to understand how the business models work differnetly.