‘Hypercasual firms must adapt or die’: Say Games pivots to hybridcasual


Publishers following the “old hypercasual success formula” are going to struggle if they don’t adapt to the current market, says Say Games boss Yegor Vaikhanski.

The Cyprus-based firm, previously best known for its hypercasual games, says it is shifting strategy to focus on ‘hybridcasual’ games with deeper gameplay, live ops and a mix of IAP and ad-based monetisation.

“This year is certainly going to be difficult for those studios who relied on the old hypercasual success formula,” Say Games CEO and cofounder Yegor Vaikhanski told us.

“Future success is going to depend on studios’ ability to create deeper game experiences as well as publishers’ will to nurture these qualities and share expertise to help developers grow.”

Say Games has over 100 games in its portfolio, but it is now concentrating on games with better long term retention.

“When our first hybrid title came out in mid-2021, we saw not only our potential to produce and market live ops games, but also an opportunity for future growth by operating these titles on a long term basis,” continued Vaikhanski.

“It is harder to launch a successful hypercasual title today, compared to 2021, as it requires advanced product analytics tools, marketing expertise and simply better quality games overall. Ad monetisation is not going anywhere anytime soon, but evolving market conditions require developers and publishers to adapt and improve fast.”

Say Games has invested heavily in its user segmentation tools and in-game offers system to make the shift into hybridcasual, added Vaikhanski, and is now publishing games drawn from all genres.

“We have games in development and in the early life cycle stage that range from a casual merge puzzle to a hardcore card battler,” he said. “We are confident that our hybrid monetisation approach can and will work for all genres and segments.”

Say Games CEO and cofounder Yegor Vaikhanski.

Say Games recently claimed it passed 4bn total lifetime installs across its portfolio, which checks out if you look at the Appmagic data.

Our list of 2022’s top mobile game publishers by downloads placed Say Games as the third biggest label by installs worldwide. It ranked behind Azur Games and Supersonic and ahead of CrazyLabs and Voodoo, with over 1bn downloads last calendar year.

Its top games include Sand Balls (322m lifetime downloads), Race Master 3D (204m) and Johnny Trigger (203m). Race Master 3D was the 7th most-downloaded game of 2022 with over 135m installs, according to our top downloads of 2022 list.

It released 25 new titles in 2022, including Color Page ASMR by Playstrom and My Perfect Hotel by Redux Games. Its top hybridcasual games to date include Dreamdale by Hypernova Games and Estoty-made duo Squad Alpha and My Little Universe.

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