Marcin Olejarz, co-founder and CEO of Boombit, spoke about the trends and problems of the hypercausal direction in his results.
How was 2020 for the company?
Of course, 2020 was difficult for everyone. But despite all the difficulties, the year turned out to be a success for BoomBit. Moreover, it turned out to be much more successful than 2019.
At the end of 2019, before all this chaos with the pandemic, we shifted our focus back to the hyper-casual genre (or, as many say, to this business model). And it was a good step on our part. According to the Adjust study "Hypercausal Gaming in 2020", the number of sessions in such games increased by 72% only in March, when the lockdown was maximized. People found themselves chained to the house and began to look for new entertainment. For many, hyper-casual games have become such entertainment, an important advantage of which is that they attract people of different ages, genders and cultures.
We call ourselves pioneers in this direction. We started creating hypercausals back in 2014. Back then they were called "One-touch Games".
This October, our total game downloads amounted to 800 million (since the company was founded in 2010). In the first 3 quarters of 2020 alone, installations exceeded the threshold of 164 million (this is 230% more than in the same period a year earlier). Of this amount, 115 million were for hyper-casual games.
That's how we became one of the fastest growing hyper-casual developers in the world. The results achieved (both in terms of downloads and revenue) indicate that the decision to focus on hyper—casual games was an excellent strategic step, and also proved our high professionalism in this promising segment.
I would also like to note that we are very good at working in distributed mode, so the lockdown did not affect our productivity. As long as we have email, Slack, Jira and Google Meet, we are fine. By the way, we always try to arrange video calls. It motivates us to stay in shape!
What new trends in your niche do you consider worth paying attention to?
Do you know what's especially cool about hyper casual games? They always end up in the subject. Whatever trend happens, most likely, there will be a game about it right there. That's why the audience feels their involvement in the moment, so they love and play them.
For example, the hashtags #satisfying and #oddlysatisfying have millions of followers on social networks Instagram, TikTok, Reddit. And every day new videos appear on hashtags. Many developers use social media for inspiration. That's how new games are born. For example, a video about acrylic nail extensions, which has collected 2 million likes on TikTok, is very similar to the gameplay of nail salon simulators that are at the top of the charts.
@youngnailsincHyperspace slickpour ? #youngnails #nails #nailart #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #satisfying #oddlysatisfying #slickpour #acrylicflow #acrylicnails♬ All Of Me — Big Gigantic ft. Logic & Rozes
Ultra—casual games (also known as Zen games) dominated the charts for quite a long time in 2020. These games use very beautiful colors and realistic textures, which, of course, disposes them.
Many companies have started to focus more on the female audience. As a result, many simulators of various beauty salons have appeared — from the already mentioned nail salons to hairdressers, cosmetics and even spas.
However, I would like to highlight in particular the trend towards mixing mechanics. We saw a lot of games where there are several gameplays at once. For example, tap timing and shooting, draw and run, run and stack, run and fly, and so on. I am sure that this year it is worth waiting for the appearance of games with new combinations.
What new market trends would you note in general?
I will focus on those trends that show how video games help us live a full life, even if we are locked at home.
The world we live in has completely changed in 2020. And it's not surprising that gaming companies have started working with brands and artists to create new unique types of experiences. For example, people can no longer attend music concerts. And a way out was found — in-game concerts. This approach combines both animated versions of the musicians and live screenings. This is very cool.
Source: TrendHunter 2021 Trend Report
Perhaps one of the main work problems that people faced during the lockdown was the loss of the feeling of working together on certain tasks. Games can and do come to the rescue here too. You probably saw the viral tweet of one artist, they wrote about her on the pages of BoredPanda. She talked about replacing Zoom with Red Dead Redemption for working discussions.
Zoom sucks, we started having editorial meetings in Red Dead Redemption instead. It’s nice to sit at the campfire and discuss projects, with the wolves howling out in the night
— Viviane Schwarz (@vivschwarz) May 16, 2020
This is a great way to establish friendly relations that are built through informal interaction.
Another trend is in-game interaction, which has already been joined by educational centers, as well as retail and grocery stores. Today, when people don't go out, they expect brands to integrate organically into their habits. Games and social networks are just the medium in which this can be done. An excellent example is Animal Crossing, whose developers have done a great job of conducting in—game tours of art galleries and museums.
Source: TrendHunter 2021 Trend Report
What will be the stake in the development of the company in 2021?
On game development.
It sounds crazy, but in the hyper-casual niche, the obsession with CPI and retention metrics has gone too far. Look, hyper-casual games have turned into a $4 billion market. It has grown, become large and now resembles a segment of casual games. Within its framework, from now on, you can also make games for a specific audience and at the same time earn good money. That's just changed the approach to creating hyper-casual games, it became necessary to pay attention to a much wider set of metrics, evaluate earlier, test monetization earlier. All so that you, as a publisher, can make the best decision about the game.
So today, at BoomBit, we want to bring creativity back to hyper-casual game development. This desire perfectly correlates with one of the central trends of 2021. I'm talking about the trend towards hyper-casual games with deeper meta and sophisticated monetization (but not as complicated, of course, as in games built entirely on IAP). In such games, the addictive hypercausal loop (core loop) and visual approach (theme) are juxtaposed with deeper gameplay and, consequently, IAP capabilities.
However, we are not going to deal exclusively with hypercausals. We are also ready to publish midcore titles. And, of course, we will continue to expand our library of games for the Nintendo Switch.
Which third-party game releases are you interested in?
As a big fan of American sports, I was hooked by NBA 2K20 (and I'm already thinking about NBA 2k21)! The graphics are still unreal! In such a difficult year for sports, the game has become an amazing substitute for attending real matches. Yes, the graphics are so good! And the game has a completely unique career mode relative to other products. Agreeing with James LeBron (Le Bron James) for the sake of a storyline campaign is an excellent solution, given the new dynamic and multicultural world in which we live. The gameplay is also improved from year to year. Now the developers are focusing on the speed and sensitivity of the game. By far the best version of the game released to date.