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The right way to Leverage Traits and Motivations to Construct Higher Informal and Hyper-Informal Video games


Competitors is fierce within the cellular recreation market, however much more so for builders of informal and hyper-casual video games. 1000’s of recent video games and apps concentrating on informal and hyper-casual audiences are launched on daily basis, which suggests capturing the eye of recent gamers is hard, however protecting them engaged for weeks and months to return is even trickier. 

So, what can cellular recreation builders do to extend the possibilities of their video games performing properly? Some builders of informal and hyper-casual video games have been discovering success by seeking to wider social traits and creating gaming experiences that cater to the audiences of those traits. However what’s the best method to discover such traits? And the way have you learnt which traits will likely be successful with a gaming viewers? 

Broadly considered the largest trendsetter in the case of entertaining content material, the short-form video content material platform, TikTok, has change into the brand new house for viral content material. That is the place the largest traits are usually not solely shared but in addition began, and TikTok’s hyperlinks with the gaming group – the place gaming is among the prime classes on the platform rising 2.3X year-over-year from 2021 to 2022 (TikTok Inside Information, 2022) – makes it the right place to seek out inspiration for informal and hyper-casual cellular video games. 

If you happen to’re an app developer that’s already experimented with video content material – maybe within the type of video adverts – you’ll already acknowledge the worth of video content material. TikTok’s group leverages the participating short-form video format to share their inventive takes on video games, whether or not humorous or instructional. 

Most not too long ago, it’s been hyper-casual and informal video games leveraging TikTok’s hottest traits to create unique video games that attraction to avid gamers and viewers participating with viral content material. 

Let’s check out a few of the most profitable ones:

Fidget Buying and selling 3D: Fidget Toys

Fidget Trading 3D

Everybody remembers fidget toys, proper? TikTok introduced them again into trend and in splendid fashion when the idea of fidget buying and selling emerged as a brand new pattern in 2021, with customers filming the method of buying and selling their fidget toys with one another. So far, ‘fidget buying and selling’ has garnered over 200M views on TikTok.

This pattern doesn’t go unnoticed by recreation builders. They began creating video games comparable to the place gamers place the fidgets they need to commerce within the middle and take turns to commerce objects. Fidget Buying and selling 3D: Fidget Toys is a hyper-casual title launched by Turkish studio MagicLab on the first of July 2021 and is probably the most profitable instance of a recreation based mostly on fidget toys.

Mushy launching the sport on TikTok pushed them to #1 on the US iOS and Android charts for 11 days and to the highest place in 39 different markets globally. A big a part of Fidget Buying and selling’s huge success was because of the recognition of the sport idea and familiarity amongst TikTok customers. The sport mechanics are easy: gamers commerce fidget toys and purpose to get the most effective commerce. 

As Fidget Buying and selling 3D: Fidget Toys clearly exhibits, leveraging the most recent traits on TikTok is a good way to realize big visibility in your recreation at launch and make it really feel immediately acquainted to probably thousands and thousands of gamers. Folks already engaged with the preliminary pattern are prone to search out the gaming expertise.

Excessive Heels!

High Heels

Excessive Heels! is a hyper-casual title launched by Rollic and launched on the finish of 2020. It was probably the most standard video games in 2021, reaching over 100 million downloads worldwide in simply 11 months.

The key to its success? It’s standard on TikTok, the place gamers flooded the platform with movies of its extremely compelling gameplay whereas positioning it alongside meme traits and the #highheels hashtag. On January 2021, TikTok creator @Isaiahbaca posted a video on TikTok with the enduring caption, “discovered a recreation for baddies.” The unique video has amassed over 1M likes thus far, and in whole, the associated hashtags (#highheels, #highheelsgame, and so forth.) acquired over 56M video views.

Excessive Heels! isn’t a sophisticated online game. It faucets into the motivations, wants, and desires of a selected viewers whereas driving a trending hashtag. Different components contributing to its success are its ease to pick-up and play, the mechanics and visible fashion of the sport make it good for sharing on TikTok, and its various vary of characters cowl a broad spectrum of gender presentation and physique varieties.

From this success, Rollic’s workforce shared that they may combine “TikTok-able” components into their future titles. The likelihood to scale on TikTok is dependent upon each natural and paid funding. You possibly can faucet into the group and scan the platform to choose up on trending themes which are acquainted to yours so you may scale on creatives and adverts.

What are the motivations behind traits on TikTok?

Much like standard video games, the success of viral content material is usually right down to it being relatable and fulfilling sure wants. Recreation builders ought to try to discover the motivations behind the particular traits that they need to place their video games alongside to allow them to perceive the particular recreation mechanics that can encourage gamers. 

Satisfying to Watch

Discover symmetry, repetition, materials traits
#satisfying – 290B
#restock – 12B


Discover new methods to precise your self and showcase your creativity
#cakedecorating – 11B
#DIY – 202B


Be engaged with out pondering an excessive amount of
#zen – 2.8B
#posca – 1.7B


Anticipation for the tip outcome
#group – 5B
#paintmixing – 1.4B

Maintain and construct higher video games by interesting to new participant motivations 

Past the significance of understanding which options and mechanics attraction to new gamers, it’s essential that recreation builders discover other ways to realize sustained success and engagement for his or her video games. Particularly within the more difficult, post-IDFA advertising panorama, some ways of growing and creating profitable video games have modified. This implies many hyper-casual and informal video games are on the lookout for methods to extend long-term retention, construct IAPs and enhance their LTVs.

Hybrid approach to mobile game design

Put merely: the cellular recreation market is presently seeing numerous hybridization

Within the informal/hyper-casual house, we see this occur by way of three main function areas: meta layers, social and LiveOps.

Meta layers

The adoption of meta components has elevated. Core gameplay can nonetheless be the first focus, however meta layers open up a manner for recreation builders to “hybridize video games,” bringing a way of development and variety for avid gamers. 

A number of the most profitable meta layer varieties utilized in video games embody: 

  • Mild building & customization mechanics (ornamental or small boosts)
  • Collectible objects/characters (stickers, mascots, and so forth.)
  • Mild RPG mechanics of things, characters used within the core gameplay
  • Narrative components to extend a way of immersion and progress

One meta layer kind that’s trending specifically is assortment techniques, which can additionally clarify the success of Fidget Buying and selling 3D as gathering is the core component of the sport. Assortment techniques have good synergies with LiveOps and supply ample alternatives for monetization. In addition they are seen in varied codecs in all sorts of video games as they don’t essentially need to have an effect on the core gameplay however solely work as a sideline development vector.

The popularity of collection mechanics
Screenshot from the GameRefinery service exhibiting the recognition of assortment mechanics among the many prime 20% grossing IAP video games and the remainder of the market over the course of the previous 4 years within the US market.
Among other things, Coin Master has added simple collection mechanics to function as another progression vector.
Amongst different issues, Coin Grasp has added easy assortment mechanics to operate as one other development vector.

Meta layers will also be used to broaden your recreation’s motivational attraction by giving gamers extra targets to realize and to spice up retention. Two examples are escapism by story components and self-expression by decorations. 

Totally different meta layers can enhance your recreation’s attraction in direction of participant cohorts with totally different motivational driver profiles, leading to a extra engaged participant base total. One good instance is from the Match3 market with how Undertaking Makeover’s narrative/ornament meta introduced an additional “motivational angle” to compete towards Sweet Crush Saga, proven within the motivational emphasis graph under.

Screenshot from the GameRefinery service comparing Candy Crush Saga's and Project Makeover's motivational drivers.
Screenshot from the GameRefinery service evaluating Sweet Crush Saga’s and Undertaking Makeover’s motivational drivers.

In different phrases, Undertaking Makeover appeals to a broader set of motivational drivers and is prone to lure in new sorts of gamers who’re pushed by Expressional motivations because of this. 

Social and LiveOps

Social components and social connections are one of many strongest retention-inducing components in cellular video games, which explains why extra cellular video games are including social hangout areas and different components into their video games. Analyzing the assorted methods you possibly can introduce social components into your recreation is a good way of constructing engagement and retention.

Screenshot from the GameRefinery service showing the popularity of Guild mechanics among the top 20% of the highest-grossing IAP games and the rest of the market in the US iOS.
Screenshot from the GameRefinery service exhibiting the recognition of Guild mechanics among the many prime 20% of the highest-grossing IAP video games and the remainder of the market within the US iOS.

There are many examples, even in easy informal video games, the place builders have launched social components as one of many key options on prime of the easy function set. That is normally accomplished by introducing guild mechanics, which permit gamers to kind communities with different gamers and sometimes earn rewards for shared gameplay, as a “social group” function. As soon as launched, guild mechanics may be constructed upon with extra options and occasions, comparable to aggressive and non-competitive occasions.

Video games comparable to Match 3D from Lion Studios use guild mechanics to faucet extra into social drivers to maneuver forward of “hyper-casual” to extend the sport’s engagement.

Match 3D's guild mechanic is its 'Team' feature, which introduces social aspects to the simple, 'hyper-casual-ish' core puzzle gameplay.
Match 3D’s guild mechanic is its ‘Crew’ function, which introduces social elements to the easy, ‘hyper-casual-ish’ core puzzle gameplay.

One other manner to have a look at social components is from the aggressive angle. Your recreation may be PvP-oriented, the place the competitors motivation is of course the lifeline of the entire product. However these days, an increasing number of less complicated solo-based video games are introducing some mild aggressive components to drive engagement and monetization. 

We’ve seen this pattern in varied puzzle recreation subgenres comparable to Match3s, Bubble Shooters and Phrase video games. Many of the video games in these subgenres are inherently solo experiences, taking part in stage after stage with no PvP in sight. However practically all the prime Puzzle video games have began to faucet into aggressive motivations as properly by their stay ops. It is vitally frequent for these video games to have varied leaderboard occasions and different aggressive components. Gamers are nonetheless taking part in those self same solo puzzle ranges, however as they play, they accumulate development to a leaderboard the place they’re competing towards others. 

For instance, Bubble Shooter – Pop Bubbles by Ilyon Dynamics is a really simple-looking puzzle recreation with hyper-casual components at first look. However if you dive deeper into the sport, you uncover they’ve constructed a fairly strong occasion framework to assist/have interaction their gamers to maintain taking part in, and lots of of those occasions faucet precisely into aggressive motivations.

Bubble Shooter has plenty of events to extra engage/incentivize players to progress in a linear saga map. Many of them involve competitive elements.
Bubble Shooter has loads of occasions to further have interaction/incentivize gamers to progress in a linear saga map. A lot of them contain aggressive components.

General, probably the most essential methods to extend your recreation’s engagement is to begin working stay occasions in your gamers. Whether or not they’re aggressive or not, a robust occasion framework can assist your core gameplay loop and work as a robust retention mechanic for giving gamers extra short-term targets. Simply merely including content material isn’t sufficient for contemporary audiences. 

What instruments can I take advantage of to information me in launching new video games?

  • TikTok Inventive Heart is a one-stop hub for all that’s buzzing on TikTok. Get the inside track on the preferred hashtags, songs, creators, and movies in your area and vertical. Pattern Discovery is right here to encourage you, maintain you within the loop, and information you on the most recent gaming traits.
TikTok what's trending?
  • Accomplice with TikTok creators to speed up discovery. Builders can use one other necessary device, the TikTok Creator Market to seek for related creators to collaborate with. Spark Advertisements is one other format to think about, the place builders can increase consciousness of creators’ movies to succeed in the precise viewers on TikTok.
  • Analyze the most effective practices with GameRefinery. Builders can use GameRefinery’s SaaS platform to investigate the marketplace for function implementations, meta layers, and LiveOps to know finest practices of probably the most profitable cellular video games. 
  • Determine traits and present rivals. The GameRefinery database affords direct entry to 1000’s of analyzed video games with a full breakdown of options, motivations, and market match. Builders can incorporate this knowledge to shine function design, add new meta layers, and enhance future LiveOps. 


  • Discover the traits – Leverage instruments on TikTok to seek out the most recent prime songs and hashtags, and leverage GameRefinery for the highest options to extend quicker growth time and guarantee a greater market match. 
  • Uncover the motivation – Why did one thing change into a cross-category pattern? What’s the want it fulfills? What are the function loops which make it work?
  • Launch the sport – Use TikTok’s distinctive set of options and leverage the facility of creators to assist get the gaming group onboard.
  • Construct the product for longer-term retention – Research the most effective practices of 1000’s of analyzed video games and their updates with GameRefinery’s SaaS platform to know the options which are proving most profitable throughout LiveOps. 
  • Company data-driven validation all through the product lifecycle – Make the most of GameRefinery’s qualitative knowledge to verify expectations and solidify product plans to realize set workforce targets from market analysis and idea growth to LiveOps.


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