How to pitch your hypercasual game to a publisher
Supersonic Studios' Danielle Reich Cohen gives tips about how to pitch to hypercasual publishers the right way
Hypercasual game publishers receive hundreds -- if not thousands -- of pitches each month. Of these, 80 are getting published each day across both apps stores.
The entire purpose of a pitch is to sell publishers on your concept and help them understand it as best as possible. Often, we see that hypercasual developers either don't share enough information about their game with us, or they don't have a fully-baked concept.
To help ensure you've got a great concept and you're pitching it to publishers the right way, here's what we recommend doing.
1. Include the game's inspiration
Adding photos, videos, or other materials to your game's submission that show what inspired your hypercasual game can help in two ways. Firstly, it gives publishers a reference for how your game should look and feel. Include two to five assets that best show the feeling or idea of your game, like examples of social media trends, photos, and videos.
Secondly, including the inspiration behind your hypercasual game can demonstrate how you're leveraging trends or other popular elements, which will spark the interest of publishers. Games which take advantage of industry trends are likely to appeal to a wide audience, which enhances the marketability and accessibility of your hypercasual game and can lead to a lower CPI.
2. Confirm the story and goal
Having a clear story and goal is the foundation of what publishers look for in pitches that come through their platforms -- it confirms that a concept is well-thought-out and fully formed.
Having a clear story and goal is the foundation of what publishers look for in pitches that come through their platforms
When describing the story of your hypercasual game, focus on the theme. A publisher should immediately understand what your main theme is and if relevant, how it was informed by the trends that inspired it.
For example, Fidget Toys 3D by Fidget Dev and Fidget Toys Trading 3D by Tap2Play share the same theme and both were among the top 20 hypercasual games according to App Annie. They were inspired by the fidget toy trading trend that began on TikTok and then went viral on other platforms. A popular YouTube video of this trend received over six million views in less than two months. The theme in these games was clear, which made it appealing to publishers -- the fact that the games leveraged a popular social media trend helped skyrocket them to the top of the hypercasual charts.
Just as important as clearly communicating your hypercasual game's theme is explaining the goal that players are trying to achieve. What must users accomplish to complete a level or progress through the game -- and what do they need to avoid? If the goal of your hypercasual game is to have players run to a castle at the end of a course while avoiding the characters in armor, then publishers (and eventually users) need to understand this as quickly as possible.
3. Define your hypercasual game's core characteristics
The main characteristics of your game have to relate to the concept -- and they should confirm to publishers that your hypercasual game has potential. On a pitch form, publishers will ask you about:
- Core mechanic and control
The mechanic and control dictate how players navigate in your game. The biggest question to ask yourself as you compose your pitch is: do the mechanic and control complement gameplay? For example, in hypercasual runner games, players typically swipe the screen to move the character -- which feels intuitive. If they were to hold down the screen and swipe simultaneously, this would feel complicated and clumsy.
Look at other games in the top hypercasual charts that use the same mechanic or control as your game -- then consider modelling your own after these trending examples.
- Art style
How does your hypercasual game look -- is it 3D? Realistic? Cartoon-like? No matter what you decide, be sure it relates to the game theme and concept.
If you have a hypercasual decision-making game, a realistic art style could be a good fit because it feels more immersive for users. The game Judgment Day by Matchingham Games is an example of a hypercasual decision-making game that features expressive and realistic 2D characters. The player is in charge of determining the fates of these characters in the afterlife, so depicting them as distinct individuals with emotions supports the goal of the game and creates a more engaging experience for users.
Pro tip: To help publishers understand your hypercasual game better when they're reviewing your pitch form, include examples from other games that use a similar art style so that it's easier to grasp the style that you're going for.
- Camera perspective
The right camera angle and player point of view helps users know what to expect. They want to know how they're progressing and what's coming next, so a camera angle should enable them to see this.
Consider which angle makes gameplay the most clear and easy to understand -- is it a bird's-eye view, side camera angle, first-person perspective? For example, switching the camera angle in the creative for the game Mad Dogs by Supersonic from side view to first-person helped decrease CPI from $0.41 to $0.23.
Let's put it this way: If your camera moves with the character in a hypercasual runner game with a view from the side, this could block visibility and players could get frustrated or confused. But if you switched the angle so it was a static view from behind, players could see obstacles approaching and have a better understanding of the environment.
4. Show off the hook
The hook, or the special something in your hypercasual game that makes it stand out from the crowd of other pitches publishers get through their platforms, is the biggest factor in proving your concept is engaging and marketable -- and can make or break your pitch. It's also the part of your game that publishers will often highlight in UA campaigns to attract and retain users. Being able to clearly show off the hook in your pitch form helps publishers see the appeal of your hypercasual game from both a marketing and gameplay standpoint.
Your hook can be anything, like the game design, core mechanic, or leveraging a trend. For example, there are many hypercasual games in the top charts inspired by the trending ASMR videos from social platforms, such as Paper Fold from Good Job Games and Slice It All from Voodoo, which both reached the top 15 hypercasual game charts in the past 12 weeks, according to App Annie. These games succeeded because they used the ASMR hook -- the feeling of satisfaction that was so appealing on social media -- and adapted it for a hypercasual audience.
Make sure your hook is in the core gameplay, which ensures players enjoy the hook throughout the entire game and not just on a single level or element. Let's say your hook is a cheerleader theme. If the gameplay doesn't have a cheerleader storyline, character, or other parts that relate to the theme, then this hook likely won't succeed.
Danielle Cohen Reich is the director of gaming for IronSource's publishing solution Supersonic, where she helps the global publishing team and oversees all aspects of publishing, from ideation to launch.