Seven predictions on the key trend in 2021:
1. Puzzle Games Becomes the Top Grossing Genre on Mobile
Puzzle games made $5.1 billion in 2020, growing 29% compared to 2019. In mobile games overall, puzzle games account for just over 50% of all revenue for 2020.
2021 will be the year of acquisitions’ soft launches specifically from Zynga (Peak) and Playrix (Zagrava, Plexonic) in the second half of 2021. In addition to the aforementioned games, most of the newly-launched puzzle games belong to merge games, which is expected to be the main target for mergers and acquisitions in 2021.
Applovin and new smaller splinter studios will continue to push the boundaries of the casual metagame. In order to effectively retain players with high engagement, there will be a trend in puzzle games in 2021 to evolve “elder game” features.
2. Hypercasual Will Continue to Exist, but Given That the Hybridcasual Can Be Transformed by Hypercasual Gamers, It Will Make a Breakthrough in 2021
In 2020, the number of downloads of Hypercasual went from 7.8 billion to a whopping 11.8 billion, continuing its double-digit growth rate from 2019 with it up by 52%. Hypercasual along peaked at $3 billion in ad revenue in 2020.
In Hypercasual, there are two trends in the future:
Trend 1 The Rise of Feel-Good Mechanics
In 2020, Hypercasual witnessed its hay day, which was introduced by the success of SayGames’ Perfect Slices.
Trend 2 Misleading Ads Turn into Actual Games
Instead of following the misleading advertising trends with a core game that looks nothing like the ad, Lion Games went full circle and launched not one but two games based on the most successful ad formats throughout 2020.
With the development of the Hypercasual market, mature developers started looking for alternatives and began considering the demand for a better monetization mode. Hybridcasual will break through in 2021, as developers of Hypercasual will have to put in some of the features that can drive in-app purchase to obtain more revenue. This evolution will result in fewer newly-launched games and a longer duration for successful games from weeks to months.
In 2021, there is another emphasis that new IDFA rules will lead to the collapse of CPMs. This change will break the existing liquidity structure, and the market will also undergo a big restructuring. Top developers will become stronger while small developers will become weaker.
In addition to Voodoo, larger developers will be looking to grow in other categories by acquiring or building smaller development studios.
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