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Connected TVs are the Future of Hyper-Casual Games

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@sergeymishchenkoSergey Mishchenko

СЕО of Playcent Games

There is a new phenomenon taking over the gaming scene — the "hyper-casual" games. These free games are winning hearts over their click-to-play nature. More and more players continue to pick hyper-casual games as their minimalistic UI allows one to immediately start gaming after downloading. There’s no need to go through a long tutorial or look up complicated instructions. 

The growth of hyper-casual games is evident especially from 2019 to date. In 2019, hyper-casual games contributed 5.0% of the gaming market's revenue (for mobile devices).

Yet they contributed 76% of total installation growth, plus 38% of the ad revenue that accumulated that year. In March of 2020, these statistics skyrocketed. Installs doubled and the number of hyper-casual gaming sessions spiked up by an additional 72%.

What fuels this growth?

The boost in monthly downloads from 100 million to 600 million between 2015 & 2019 resulted from several factors. One of these was the classic element of hyper-casual games. People became attracted to their simplicity. The gaming scene is no longer reserved for hardcore gamers who prefer games that require in-depth attention and learning curves. The rise of casual games like Stair Run on mobile has given rise to a whole new breed of gamers who prefer casual experiences for unwinding after a tiresome day.

What contributed most to the boost in growth of hyper-casual apps between 2019 & 2020 was the COVID-19 pandemic. People spent most of 2020 indoors. In the post-covid world, analysts believe that the popularity of hyper-casual games will only continue to grow. Already, the best titles are attracting a monthly average of 50 million installs. The top titles are never below 10 million while the other bunch settles at a million+ downloads.

Why CTV is perfect for the hyper-casual audience

Before getting started on that, you may want to understand what a Connected TV (CTV) is. CTV is a TV device that streams digital video. "CTV gaming" can be described as an extended type of mobile gaming through a CTV platform. 

Now, the reasons why CTV is perfect for the hyper-casual audience include:

Better screen size

Nowadays people appreciate watching shows and playing games on larger TV screens. Although mobile phones can handle everything, they are often too small to take advantage of high-resolution graphics.

Provision of interactive games 

CTV allows a person to enjoy games that are not only interactive but also simple and engaging. One can play them now and again to relieve stress more effectively than with TV shows running in the background.

Hyper-casual: A genre or a business model?

The term "genre" cannot best describe hyper-casual. The world fell for the illusion that it is a genre, while in fact, it is a business model. 

What's the best description of hyper-casual? Well, hyper-casual are all games that obtain 95% of their revenue from ads. They make profits from advertising, not from the gamers themselves. People can enjoy hyper-casual games freely at any time, without being asked or pressured to play, or limited by their inability to buy a certain currency. This makes hyper-casual games popular on the market. The bigger their user-base, the more revenue they generate from ad networks.

CTV is best suited for that model of monetization. In 2020 alone, its ad spend went up by 19%. Its popularity has grown over the years. What's left is for buyers to understand how much they can benefit from engaging with this channel to reach their target audience.

For context, here’s a flashback: when mobile phones went mainstream and the internet became more accessible, video consumption surged. A few years later, a shift from mobile web video to mobile apps occurred. But as everyone knows, nothing transcends the large screen experience of smart TVs in 2021. This is where CTVs steal the hearts of many. Advertisers are counting on Connected TV to help them reach a wider audience.

Pioneers of hyper-casual gaming at the CTV market

CTV is not just about TV shows. Thanks to its ad-supported framework and large reach, CTV’s potential for non-video content is immense, yet barely explored. This means that the niche is wide open for a visionary company to revolutionize the current understanding of CTV from just TV to anything that developers set their minds on.

More about Ad monetization

The CTV market comprises the best games with a perfect blend of game mechanics and ad experience. The games are simple, fast, and appealing to a broader audience. 

CTV promotes smarter ad monetization in order to retain consumers. Of significant importance is the way ad units operate within apps. They should have beautiful and smooth transitions. Furthermore, they need to have different timings and sizes befitting the game experience. Ad networks must work hand-in-hand with developers to make this possible. Closer cooperation between the two parties allows hyper-casual ads to feel more native.

As another aside, playable ads seem to do better in comparison to static ads. Playable ads allow players to enjoy a few moments from the game, i.e. if they are designed with the player experience & interactions in mind. This allows the game to retain for a longer period and encourages more clicks & conversations.

Conclusion: future growth forecast

CTV gaming surfaced not a long time ago, and it doesn't have any big players yet. However, there is a great promise as more and more clients are beginning to understand how it works.

As one of the pioneers in this space, we at Playcent Games aim to continuously promote a professional approach to the CTV field of hyper-casual games.

The future development of hyper-casual games on TV hinges on the success of the CTV market today. In fact, the demand for CTV services already surpassed live TV in 2020. The lockdown restrictions imposed to control the spread of COVID-19 saw 85% of United States audiences switch to CTV, with similar growth trends across the board. Given the growing number of users, there is a lot of potential in CTV gaming that advertisers should tap into.

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