In September, Ocean Insights released the report of the Casual Game Developers Guide. The report provides a general summary for the current development of the casual game market. It also shares a large amount of data based on the attributes and behavior of casual game users.
The main points of the report are as listed in general.
1. The casual game market has huge potential and large user demand, it would be the “promised land” for developers. The first batch of the participants have a financially promising future since the gross profit rate of casual games can reach 93%;
2. The revenue structure of casual games has changed since late 2018. IAA revenue gradually exceeds the proportion of IAP revenue. Everbright Securities estimates when DAU of casual games reach 200 million (and other estimated indicators), the 2020 casual gameIAA market in China may up to 25 billion;
3. Analysis of casual game players: ①The motivation of the players lies in the demand for leisure between time chunks; ②The high activity of the players in casual games makes it easier for developers to obtain high returns with low-cost; ③Short-video largely contributed to the game downloads. It’s a closed-loop from the first impression on the Short-video platform to actually download the game. ④Casual game players have a high acceptance of ads. Focusing on ads experience could improve the growth and monetization as well;
4. There is no need to pay too much attention to the traffic. A game is evaluated by traffic, retention, and monetization together.
Large user base and high profit
MAU of casual games has reached 400 million, with gross profit margin up to 93% and IAA market 25 billion. Downloads have increased by 46% in the last 6 months.
In many other Chinese market reports, the performance of the casual game market is also eye-catching. According to Analysys, in January 2020, the MAU of casual games is over 400million. The mobile data detection platform Adjust also shows that comparesMarch 2020 to December 2019, casual game users' playtime increased by more than300% to an unprecedented status. This guarantees monetization for all developers.
Analysis of Casual Game Players
According to a survey of doujin users by Ocean Insights, casual game players often have no special reason to start the game. 48% of users just want to enrich their spare time; in the game scene, 52% of players indicate they will play the game “during the boring time”; As for the playtime of the game, nearly 40% of the people say that they "have no idea, just when they have time."
Therefore, the main reason for playing casual games is to kill time. Players’ passion for casual games comes from their demand for entertainment. The designing goal of casual games is to let players obtaining a pleasing gaming experience in a short period. So, developers can consider the needs of players and start a career in casual games by attracting a large number of players who want to be entertained.
It is difficult for players to stay loyal to just one casual game. Most players prefer to try various new and fun games. However, comparing to the fierce fighting in mid-core and hard-core games, casual games have shown a friendly coexistence and win-win situation for all players due to the casual game market liquidity. This is one of the reasons why casual games can still acquire users at a low cost. Generally speaking, casual games have low trial or error costs and low operating costs, which are suitable for small or medium-sized developer teams to start the project in a short time with limited investment.
Eight categories in casual games with huge potential
The eight potential categories are action, tower defense, placement, shooting, parkour/racing, simulation management, casual sports, and hyper-casual.
Among these, the action game has a large market. There are now very few action casual games in the market. The needs of casual game users have not been satisfied. The problem lies in the difficult operation of this kind of game, which tends to make the casual game player feel resistant. It is difficult to simplify, and it is also difficult to make it easy while hard to master. Therefore, the breakthrough can be the change in art style. It’s also good to try humorous, non-serious themes and simplify or merge the basic operation.
Although the tower defense category is the mainstay of the strategic category and has excellent retention and monetization. Traditional tower defense has strong tactics, slow pace, and poor performance, making it difficult to attract general players. The situation can be changed from a new light art style + vertical screen experience, moderately simplified strategy to enhance performance.
Besides, Ocean Insights report also conclude with points based on the character of 15 different sub-categories of casual games:
1. Developers don't need to pay too much attention to traffic: The influence of traffic is not the main factor. The essential part is to increase the game's LTV, so there is no need to pursue excessive traffic. Just ensure that the traffic is above the average level.
2. Improving retention is the key: The most difficult part in LTV is Life Time, so long-term retention is the key. The category and gameplay design which can improve long-term retention will become a breakthrough.
3. There is huge potential for racing and parkour games: among the past games, action and placement accounted for the highest proportion of user traffic, followed by tower defense, shooting, and hyper-casual, all of which are quite promising. But neither racing nor parkour games have successful games at the moment, there is still much room for development.