What is Hybrid-Casual to MondayOFF?

Alejandra CaceresPublishing Team2023. 5. 31

Hybrid-Casual has been creating quite a buzz recently. At MondayOFF, we believe that hybrid-casual is a natural progression from hyper-casual games.

So, what exactly is hybrid-casual?

Hybrid-Casual is a model used for effectively increasing a game’s LTV.

If you’re involved in the hyper-casual industry. In that case, you probably know that the Lifetime Value (LTV) of hyper-casual games is lower than other mobile game genres. This is because hyper-casual games have a lower playtime and D7-D30 RET, targeting players who want to play easier games for a shorter time and enjoy the distraction of playing anywhere and anytime.

An example of improving LTV is seen in the game Life of Mellow. Many meta-layers in this game make the players more attached to the Mellow villagers (game characters). The player needs to take care of their town, feeling the responsibility to keep checking on their village, thus lowering the chances of game abandonment and eventually increasing the RET. With the choices of RVs and IAP, the LTV is much higher than usual hyper-casual games.


The graph depicts that Life of Mellow continuously had a higher LTV than Gun Head Run, especially in the long term, without a drop in LTV after 150 days.

The surge in hybrid-casual games indicates that players want more engaging gaming experiences, explaining the recent increase in published hybrid-casual games. According to Sensor Tower, hybrid-casual games were downloaded over 5 billion times in 2022, which means that the model has been growing steadily throughout the years, with a 3% increase from 2021 to 2022.

The Importance of LTV in hybrid-casual games.

You might be wondering why LTV is so critical in-game metrics. Regarding hyper and hybrid-casual games, LTV projects the total potential revenue a player can generate in their user lifespan.

Several factors determine LTV; these factors are:

  • The average revenue per user (ARPU)
  • Retention Rate (RET)
  • In-App Purchases (IAP)
  • Ad revenue (including Rewarded, Interstitial, and Banner ads)

Analyzing all of these factors is essential since it can allow you, the developer, to know insights into each player's values. LTV is crucial as it helps developers and publishers understand the monetization potential of the game, the user base, and if the added meta-layers or LiveOPs added to the game are increasing the revenue. Ultimately, a high LTV indicates that players are more engaged in the game, drawn to the IAP, and can contribute to the game's success in the long run.

Adding Core Meta-layers to enhance player experience for higher RET and LTV.

It is proven that games with additional or more complex meta layers implemented to enhance the player’s experience contribute to a higher RET and LTV. For more clarity, meta-layers are elements that create a more advanced system for level progression and goals for the player apart from the core gameplay. These could be in the forms of upgrade boosts, rewarded collection systems, in-game design customizations, premium currencies, and building mechanics. Incorporating these core meta layers makes the player want to return and keep playing the game continuously and attain a higher sense of achievement.

In our games, Like a Pizza and Change and Drop, the difference in retention is quite visible as seen in the graph below. Like a Pizza is an idle arcade game focusing more on map expansion and RV boosts. Change and Drop is a classic collection hyper-casual game that was very popular in 2021.


The chart above shows that Like a Pizza has a higher RET rate; this is due to the game having more added meta layers and making the player feel they have more opportunities to progress and fully manage the game. In contrast, Change and Drop, as a hyper-casual game, relies on the design of having short levels and simple gameplay, which the downside is that it tends to feel repetitive for the players causing low retention. The same is seen in the playtime. Like a Pizza's playtime is much higher than that of Change and Drop.

Adding Meta-Layers is essential to increase engagement time and the likeliness of players having longer sessions. So many hyper-casual games are evolving by adding different levels that can be unlocked through specific actions and introducing expansion items or in-game boosts for users to feel like they are better than the average player.

Hybrid-casual is a monetization model, not a separate genre.

Hybrid-casual has derived from current hyper-casual games and casual games such as puzzles. We have seen this with the evolution of idle arcade, clickers, and simulation games. One example is seen with Rewarded Video Ads (RVs) which encourage players to obtain more money, have more resources, boost, or automate their play in these games.Around 50% of revenue in hybrid-casual games comes from In-App Purchases (IAP) and the other from In-App Ads (IAA).

One example in which we can compare a hyper-casual game and a hybrid-casual game revenue ratio is in our games Gun Head Run and Life Of Mellow.


The above chart shows that Gun Head Run's revenue source is mostly IAA, making up 98% of its total revenue. A contrasting example is Life of Mellow. The revenue source ratio in Life of Mellow is almost exactly split in half between IAP and IAA. The chart shows that IAP makes up about 52% of the total revenue, which is only slightly higher than the IAA revenue making up 48%.

Hybrid-casual games like Life of Mellow have a more elaborate game economy. They typically include collection systems, upgrades, customization, challenges, and other additional incentives (such as RVs) that extend the economy for players to stick around and pay for those items in the game. For this reason, it is essential to understand the player's needs and optimize the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) accordingly.

For example, Life of Mellow offers several paid Downloadable Content (DLCs). The DLCs allow the player to have substantial buildings to improve their mellow's life, increase their happiness, and lower their chances of leaving the village. One goal of the game is to maintain the Mellow's happiness high. If they are unhappy, they will leave the town. Players become drawn into these purchases since they attempt to make their 'Mellows' stay and increase their happiness. They can achieve this by paying for packages that allow them to have unique buildings that can increase the Mellow's life quality exponentially. Each Mellow also has a name, age, and family. These factors make the player more attached to the game and its characters, attracting them more to these DLCs.


Another example from the game is a 'Premium Pass,' introduced as a LiveOps for better engagement, allowing players to obtain additional resources as a result for completing in-game goals. As seen in the images, there are 'Hire tickets' and 'Build Tickets' to make the game-play easier.

While in hybrid-casual, there is a big focus on IAPs, RVs also play a significant role. All of these monetization factors, if correctly implemented in the game, after testing and profoundly analyzing the game data, an LTV increase is highly likely to occur.

The importance of IAAs in hybrid-casual games: Less IS and more RVs

In many hybrid-casual games, IS ads are shown less or not at all to increase the views of rewarded ads and IAP in the long run. It also prevents players from getting tired after watching IS ads, which decreases the retention rate due to IS ad fatigue. Recognizing the appropriate timing, placement, and reward amount for RVs is essential to increase players’ desire to watch them. In the case of Life of Mellow, it does not contain IS. Players can watch RVs to increase their productivity.


Players who don’t feel like spending their money in IAP can still progress for “free.” Some RVs are time-limited, making the player feel urgency to watch them before the offer disappears.

The combination of both IAA and IAP creates a hybrid monetization model. For a monetization model to work, the game developer must understand how to target free-to-play and paying players. For this reason, thorough data analysis on a game is critical.

Due to the competitive nature of the mobile gaming market and its constant changes, players are seeking more profound and engaging gaming experiences. Hyper-casual games need to increase their LTV, so hybrid-casual is the extension that hyper-casual needs.

The key factors for low CPI in Hybrid-Casual games

Hyper-casual uses marketing techniques and creatives to entice players to download and play the games immediately. Hybrid-casual is an extension of hyper-casual, so publishers use the same methods to maintain that low CPI that hyper-casual is known for.

Some of the common factors include:

  • Showing advertisements that challenge the player to think they can do better than what is shown in the advertisement
  • Ads showing the game play at a fast pace
  • Showing just the core game mechanics of the game
  • In game expansions and development
  • Fail settings
  • Playable ads

Hyper-casual ads tend to show simple gameplay; hybrid-casual ads do something similar while showing diverse gameplay, modes, boosts, and skins.

Both creatives show the game's core gameplay and the goals the players can reach. The key is always to display the main characteristics of the game and convey emotion to the player for them to want to download the game and achieve the goals presented in the creative ad.

To conclude,

The hybrid-casual model brings many benefits to the ever-changing gaming industry. Many hyper-casual games are evolving by adding more engaging levels and game modes, such as battle mode and multiplayer. New hybrid monetization layers have also been introduced, such as battle/premium passes, premium currencies, subscriptions, DLCs, and others. These factors can contribute to higher RV impressions and motivate players to return to the game, effectively increasing LTV and Retention numbers. MondayOFF has your back by providing the extensive knowledge and tools you need to make the next hybrid-casual hit!

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