The Indian Gaming Industry - "Hypercasualization"
Updated: Jan 23
It is no secret that the Hyper casual Gaming industry is growing at an astounding rate but what is quite interesting (for the Indian and India-focused reader) is that the Indian Gaming industry is riding this wave.
The USA, Israel, Australia, EU can be thought of as the main hyper-casual markets (opinion, not fact). The Indian market is currently not high-paying enough for the average hyper-casual developer. However, the relatively low return Indian market hasn't stopped Indian hypercasual game developers from targeting the above-mentioned foreign markets (sometimes in addition to the Indian market also) which provide enough returns for above-average game successes.
Can you Give Some Examples?
Yes. I have prepared 2 examples that I find interesting. These 2 games are not everything that the Indian Hyper casual game developers have to offer, but they showcase some interesting things about the Indian Hyper casual game development landscape.
1. Street Chaser - (This post is NOT sponsored by iGold Technologies)
Developer - iGold Technologies
Publisher - iGold Technologies
Street Chaser is a runner hyper-casual game with the chasing main mechanic. The game currently has (as of writing this post) 100,000,000+ downloads and a rating of 4.1. The developer and publisher iGold Technologies is an Indian Game development company.
The game has been self-published by iGold Technologies (Not 100% sure if this is true, but it is most probably correct). Also, it seems that iGold Technologies has focused on the Indian market for this game.
2. Soap Cutting - Satisfying ASMR - (This post is NOT sponsored by Crazy Labs, TabTales, Firescore Interactive, or Street Lamp Games)
Developer - Firescore Interactive
Publisher - Crazy Labs by TabTale (Basically CrazyLabs is the publisher)
Soap Cutting is "one of those" ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) games. For those who may not know, ASMR is the phenomenon where the sounds and visual feedback of any media (game/video, etc.) induces a sense of satisfaction in the human system. The game has 50,000,000+ downloads and a rating of 3.9 (as of writing this post). The developer Firescore Interactive is an Indian developer working with the international publisher CrazyLabs (previously based out of Israel, but now acquired by the Swedish Company Embracer Group). Now, Firescore Interactive has become part of Crazy Labs' CrazyHubs program Mumbai, where they mentor hyper-casual developers/studios (It is unclear whether Firescore has joined the CrazyLabs family or if they are still independent). A similar program is also present in Hyderabad (in association with Street Lamp Games).
Ok, you showed us the 2 examples....so what does it mean?
Oh, I am glad you asked! We can discuss how self-publishing can be difficult, but if successful, pays off hugely! Or we can prattle on about the convenience and security of finding a publisher for your next major Hyper casual hit! We can also debate the implications that the Indian Game Developer talent has come a long way from what it was 5 - 10 years ago, and now game developers are more readily available in India than ever before.
We can discuss all those things and more....but we are not going to. I want the reader to instead focus on the bigger picture of the Indian Hyper casual Industry and the Indian mobile market as a whole.
The first step is to dissociate the Indian game development Industry(Casual/Hyper Casual) from the Indian Mobile Games Market(Casual/Hyper Casual). This is necessary for a deep dive into what is happening. It is simple really - The (casual/hyper-casual) games that are popular/dominant in India are games like Ludo, Teen Patti, Carrom, etc. Many other games are also popular but the above-mentioned come to mind first. This is the Indian Mobile Games Market in the Casual/Hyper casual segment. What we (in the scope of this article) are interested in is something else, namely the Indian Hyper Casual Developers.
Get on with it...what does it mean?
Quite simply, whereas the Indian Gaming industry as a whole was lagging in terms of everything gaming till a decade ago, and was recently catching up in the mobile segment, but if we see what Indian Hyper casual game developers (remember that they are different from the Indian hyper-casual market) are doing, we can see that these crafty Indian game developers have boarded the Hyper casual wave before it was too late. Basically, I am claiming that India (for once) was not excruciatingly late in catching up to/joining in on a new Industry.
But that is not all! Foreign Hyper casual publishing giants like CrazyLabs, Kwalee, etc. are creating centers in India, expanding their reach to include Indian Hyper Casual developers under their umbrella or mentoring future Hyper Casual Maestros in India. This means that they see the potential for Hyper casual development talent coming out of India.
Hmmm....but what's in it for me?
Oh, there is quite a lot!
If you are a game developer, you can try to create some Hyper casual game and send it to a publisher for market testing (recommended....don't do self-publishing for your first 10 successful games....thank me later).
If you are an investor, it is prime time for investing in Indian Hyper casual game development/publishing companies and reap the long-term benefits as successful Hyper casual companies usually show Hypergrowth.
If you are a gamer....well you get to play more games....so....yes. I'll say no more.
I see....well that was an interesting read...who are you by the way?
Oh me? I am one of those crafty Indian Hyper casual developers targeting foreign markets and reaping benefits in international currency. Or at least I aim to be one of them. Unfortunately, Hyper casual game development is not all bells and bouquets. Undoubtedly, their development lifecycle is very small, but whether the game will hit optimized KPI's is something only the market may be able to tell you (Until we develop an AI for that and everyone is out of a job - but fortunately that future is still a little far away).
At the end of the day, this article is not a published research, or an expert bird's eye view of the Indian Hyper Casual Landscape. It is just an exploration into the industry after working in the industry for some time.
I would love to hear everyone's thoughts about where the Indian Hyper casual industry is headed. Also if you find something wrong with the article, be it factual or social, please post a comment~~
Crafty Indian Hyper casual Developer