- Ad-supported gaming apps that are easy for mobile users to download for free and play instantly have become increasingly popular worldwide. These "hyper casual" games now make up the most installs on average per app in half of the biggest mobile markets, up from 20% of those markets last year, per AppsFlyer's "The State of Gaming App Marketing" report.
- The number of hyper casual games has surged 170% since last year — more than three times the gaming industry average — while downloads have jumped 150%. That growth has negatively affected other genres of games, such as midcore games that have seen a 46% plunge in their share of paying users, while hardcore games have experienced a 15% slide.
- Gaming apps also are more prone to being uninstalled than non-gaming apps, making engagement a significant issue for developers. Gaming apps have an uninstall rate 34% higher than for non-gaming apps, including uninstall rates of more than 40% within 30 days, per AppsFlyer. The company studied 38 billion app installs among 20,000 apps and 4.5 billion daily users.
The growing popularity of ad-supported hyper casual games can help to broaden the audience for marketers that have sought ways to reach consumers whose time spent on gaming apps once limited their time spent with other media platforms. Every game category — from hyper casual to hardcore — has boosted the number of times people play each month, an indication of greater "stickiness" that has made in-game advertising more imperative for mobile marketers. Games can offer a brand-safe environment for advertisers, but in-app ad fraud is a growing concern as more games offer ad placements, AppsFlyer's study suggests.
AppsFlyer's report also indicates that consumers are more willing to see ads in games that don't charge a download fee or have in-app purchases. Consumers see little risk in downloading a free app, helping to support the popularity of hyper casual games. However, customer dissatisfaction with in-app game purchases is a significant issue that's led many people to avoid those transactions. Almost two-thirds (61%) of U.S. mobile gamers said they regretted making an in-app purchases citing a lack of value, per a Facebook survey cited by AppsFlyer. More than 80% of people who had a bad experience said they were less willing to pay for in-app content, a key hurdle for game developers seeking to diversify their revenue streams.
While mobile games do have sticky characteristics, consumers also are continually looking for fresh titles to play and are willing to remove games from their smartphones. Gaming apps have a 34% higher uninstall rate than non-gaming apps, an indication of an "exploratory" mindset among gamers who test out apps looking for the right fit. Android's uninstall rate is 125% higher than for iOS because of the diversity of Android devices and lower average storage space for less expensive handsets, AppsFlyer notes.