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Amplify Tokyo: Going global with hyper-casual games

by Amy Mills on May 17, 2018

On April 20th, AppLovin held a workshop as part of our Amplify series entitled “Going Global with Hyper-Casual Games” in Tokyo, Japan. This is the follow-up to the Amplify workshop we held last year, which covered the best monetization practices for non-gaming apps.

This year, we gathered a crowd of 100 game developers to learn about hyper-casual, mobile gaming’s latest genre. We had speakers from Ubisoft, 111%, and of course, AppLovin.

Charting the rise of hyper-casual games

AppLovin Amplify workshop

For the first session of the day, Nori Hayashi, AppLovin’s Country Manager in Japan, gave an introduction to hyper-casual games. Hyper-casual games have mass appeal, have the ability to scale quickly, and are almost exclusively ad-funded. Because they are simple, production costs are typically lower than other types of games, so there is less of a business risk to develop them as well. Since 2017, hyper-casual games have been dominating the top free charts in both the App Store and Google Play, and their success will likely continue into 2018.

111% on acquiring high-quality users

HyukJun Kang Marketing Director 111%

Next up we had HyukJun Kang from 111% speak. 111% is a Korean indie developer most known for BBTAN (Android | iOS), a highly successful hyper-casual game that has generated over 50 million downloads. Kang gave a presentation on how 111%’s games have achieved international success, discussing topics such as how they choose countries as key markets and how to acquire high-quality users.

Kang also discussed why it’s important to choose your target markets not only based on number of users, but also whether a given market has high-quality users that generate revenue. For example, a country may not have the largest number of users, but the users may yield a high ARPDAU, so it is important to take into consideration such countries when crafting a UA strategy.

He also talked about 111%’s organizational structure. In the company’s game development process, a developer and designer team up at the start of development. This came as a surprise to our audience, because game designers typically don’t become heavily involved until later in the process.

Ubisoft on doing UA for hyper-casual games

Saikala Sultanova Director of User Acqusition Ubisoft

Lastly, Ubisoft’s Saikala Sultanova talked about the company’s approach to UA. Ubisoft is mostly known for its console games such as Assassin’s Creed, but they have been growing their footprint in the mobile space by acquiring studios such as Ketchapp, the developers of popular games like 2048 and Dunk Line.

Sultanova explained some of the tools that Ubisoft uses in its user acquisition process. She also explained the differences between UA strategies between hyper-casual games and other game genres. As we’ve seen with hyper-casual games, UA relies mostly on scale without worrying too much about LTV like you would need to with a game that relies on in-app purchases.  

The hyper-casual game genre is still new in Japan, so the audience found both 111% and Ubisoft’s presentations highly informative and asked many questions. We hope that through our event, Japanese developers became more interested in hyper-casual games. Hopefully it won’t be long before we see a hyper-casual game from Japan rock the global app charts!

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