CPI or CTR? How to best measure your game’s marketability

When it comes to understanding the potential success of your prototype, market testing is the best way to accurately measure a user’s reception to your game. Most rapid market testing is conducted on social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, as they allow you to test the marketability of your game in both an economic and efficient way.

The types of campaigns or tests on these platforms can range from tracking traffic to engagement, and from them you can calculate important KPIs such as Click-through-rate (CTR) and Cost-per-install (CPI). A CPI or a CTR test are two different types of tests and both have pros and cons worth considering for your particular stage of development.

Keep reading as we explore these two types of tests and help guide in choosing the best one for your situation.

CTR Tests

CTR tests are run as Traffic campaigns, where you create a Facebook Test measuring the amount of clicks your ad receives against your total traffic. To calculate the CTR, you simply divide your impressions by the number of clicks you received. 

The huge benefit to developers with CTR tests is that they allow you to get a very early capture of your game’s potential marketability, with merely a short gameplay video or imagery. This means that you don’t need to create an App-Store-approved prototype, potentially saving you valuable time in your development process should the concept perform negatively.

So if you don't have a prototype available on the store, CTR tests are the easiest way to see early marketability. However, they can also have their limitations. 

CTR results do not alway correlate to the potential CPI of your game, as you can only see metrics related to clicks but not installs. Ad optimization executed by FB are also based on the campaign goal, so your audience is targeted towards people who often click on Facebook ads rather than people who would install a game. 

CPI Tests

Cost-per-install or CPI test campaigns are used to calculate how much you have to pay for every user that installs your game. This test differs from CTR tests because they are optimized to target audiences who install applications and tend to give a more in-depth analysis of the performance of your game.

For example from a CPI test, you are able to calculate both the CTR and IPM and the results to be more reliable, since you can measure the actual cost per install. So if it gives a more in-depth analysis, why doesn’t every developer choose to conduct a CPI test over a CTR test? 

Well, unlike CTR tests, to run a CPI test you must have a functioning app on the Appstore with Facebook’s SDK integration implemented. For those developers looking to conduct rapid market testing, this can sometimes be too big a commitment when it’s undetermined whether a concept is worth investing more time into. 

The Verdict

Deciding which test campaign to run will depend on where you are currently in your development stage. 

If you’re in the early stages of testing and are deciding on which mechanic or art style to go with, CTR testing is an effective way to compare without the commitment of building a prototype. If however you are prototype testing and deciding upon the mechanics or game experience, we recommend CPI testing that will be able to give a more in-depth analysis of the potential of your app.

Keen to learn how you can publish with Coda? Get in touch with our team at partnerships@codaplatform.com or submit your game directly via Coda Platform. 


Viral Trends: A Recipe for Hyper-casual Success

In recent months, the hyper-casual industry has seen a flurry of top charting games based on what are seemingly random activities and themes. So what do rappers, tie dying and ASMR all have in common? They are all themes and concepts that originated from viral social trends.

Propelled by social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, games based on viral trends such as DaBabyGame, Tie Dye and Makeover Studio 3D, have all seen top chart success. So how exactly do you identify a viral trend and how do you translate this into your next hyper-casual hit? 

Read on as we explore why viral trends work so well, where to find them and how best to incorporate them into your next project.

Viral social trends appeal to the masses

Publishers and studios in recent months have cottoned on to the growing trend of game themes revolving around social or viral trends. So what makes these viral themed games so popular among users?

Generally speaking, these viral or satisfying themed games are based on trends found on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram & TikTok. Since the hyper-casual target demographic varies considerably in age, all three platforms are ideal mediums to ideate concepts since they cater to a wide range of demographics (from 13-65+).

Unfortunately, there’s no real rule or recipe when it comes to creating viral content, so it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what makes a trend popular. But once identified, these social trends transform into a theme or mechanic within hyper-casual games and can see huge success. This success can be attributed to the interactive experience that mobile gaming can deliver.

A hyper-casual game based on the viral trend takes this to the next level, allowing users to partake in a social trend they find entertaining or satisfying. 

Seeing social media trends through videos on TikTok is one thing, but the interaction is limited to commenting, liking and sharing. A hyper-casual game based on the viral trend takes this to the next level, allowing users to partake in a social trend they find entertaining or satisfying. 

What do all these hit games have in common?

Viral social trends appeal to the masses

Content on social media platforms is virtually endless and it can be easy to fall down the ‘TikTok rabbit hole and scroll on these platforms for hours with little results. Starting off, we’d recommend you begin your search for inspiration via more visually orientated platforms such as TikTok or Instagram. We also recommend streamlining your search through the use of hashtags, specific profiles and interacting with content which will help your search algorithm in the future.

Search efficiently with hashtags

Help streamline your search for viral trends through the use of specific hashtags that relate to viral trends. Some example hashtags include:






Depending on your social media platform, you may find that in the ‘Explore’ or search area of the app, the app actually has an option to search for videos automatically recognised as ‘trending’ or ‘viral’, based on the level of engagement and views. This is also another good place to start!

Interact with content to improve your algorithm

When you come across viral social trends that are within the area of your search, interact with them by commenting or liking to improve your feed’s algorithm. In the long run, the algorithm will do the hard work for you by showing recommended videos based on videos you’ve liked in the past. We even recommend creating a separate social account specifically for these videos if you’d like to keep your feed’s content divided. 

How to incorporate them into your next gaming project

So you’ve come across a viral social trend and now it’s time to convert it into a hyper-casual game. Firstly, it’s important to understand whether it’s the theme or action (sometimes it can be both!) that makes the trend so appealing. 

For example in 2020, Tie Dye clothing became fashionable again and appeared in multiple TikTok tutorials. In this example, it was the method of tie dying and seeing the final product unravelled that was both satisfying and entertaining to watch. Whereas in the DaBabyGame, the game is appealing specifically to the theme of a famous rapper currently trending in both music and pop culture.

We recommend assessing these two factors first and then considering what it is about each that is most appealing. Consider why the theme or action is entertaining or perhaps why it’s satisfying (we have a recent guide going into more depth on how to master ‘satisfying’ games here).

If all else fails and you are struggling to come up with a concept based on a trend, check out our Coda Partner Program where we hand select and deliver pre-tested concepts proven to be highly marketable (CPI <$0.20 & IPM 35+). 


How Arcadian Lab Achieved Hyper-casual Success with Real Drive 3D

This week Coda had the chance to sit down with Mubeen Iqbal, Product Manager at Arcadian Lab, the Pakistani based studio behind Coda’s latest hit game Real Drive 3D.

This is Arcadian Lab’s second game to hit the top charts globally and we had the pleasure of getting Mubeen’s insight into his studio’s practices and thoughts on hyper-casual’s next big trends. Read on to discover more on how Mubeen and his team were able to publish their second hit game with Coda and have it reach #1 in iOS Games charts in over seven countries worldwide.

Q. Congratulations on your recent success with Real Drive 3D! Firstly, can you talk us through the game concept itself and what’s the objective?

It's essentially a game where you have to drive your car from point A to point B but your paths have obstacles, so it's kind of like an obstacle course.The game is heavily dependent on the different level designs. Most people are familiar with Super Mario, so it's the same type of concept of an obstacle course, but with cars instead. 

We put the steering wheel onto the screen itself, so users literally rotate the steering wheel, and that's how you can control the car. While we didn’t invent the mechanic itself, we noticed that it was something nobody else had been doing at the time, and then soon, the industry started following because this was a relatively new and simple control that we had. 

Q. Typically in hyper-casual games, the graphics and backgrounds are quite simple, toony and less realistic. Real Drive 3D however is quite realistic in both its settings and cars. Could you walk us through why you chose this realistic art style?

So we actually started off with realistic graphics, as it wasn’t something we developed throughout our iterations because we already had some intuition that it would work. 

While we were working on Police Quest, it was evident that the industry wasn’t really moving towards that direction [realistic artwork], but there were a lot of indicators that made us confident that it was going to be the next big thing.

So we didn't really wait for that to happen, we jumped on the opportunity and predicted it correctly. 

Q. So in terms of ideation, how did you first come up with the concept?

So the way it happened was that one night, me and my buddy, we were both sitting at the office, quite late, and we came across this idea of a very old landscape PC game with a similar mechanic. We started thinking about how we could convert this into a hyper casual mobile game because that could be an interesting concept, but we didn’t know if it would perform well or not.

So to test the concept, we just edited the video of the PC game, cropped it, changed the aspect ratio and added our own UI on top of that so that it resembles a mobile UI. And then we tested the game and it did get positive results. So that was how the original idea was conceived

Arcadian Lab working on the development of Real Drive 3D

Q. And how did you work with Coda to bring it to life?

It was a good experience for us as Coda let us work quite autonomously in the development of the game. They trusted in our abilities to develop our game, which is obviously something that we do and we trust them in their ability to publish. The team checked in on the development and were kept in the loop, but they were confident that we knew what we were doing as we base a lot of what we do on data rather than guesswork. 

Once the game was fully developed, then obviously, the ball was in Coda’s court to help launch and monetise the game. And they did a good job of that as well, like every time they do exactly that.

Q. At any point in your development of Real Drive 3D, were there any key iterations that you felt helped contribute to the success of the game?

I’d say we had to have some creativity when it came to the monetization model, as our original model based on the original game board would not have made as much money as it could have. So that was something that probably we did have to think about, and we discussed this with our publishing manager and Coda helped to make this as profitable as possible without compromising on the game’s user experience.

Q. In your experience with hyper-casual, would you say that the ideation process is the responsibility of the developer or publisher? Or do you think it’s moving towards a more collaborative partnership?

I would say it’s more of a shared responsibility, and it has its own benefits because you know sometimes as developers we overlook certain things, which a publisher wouldn’t, for example, monetization has to be in there. If the game doesn't make money then no matter how many users are out there, it's no good for business. 

So you know, having that kind of insight from somebody else who is seeing things from a very different lens is enormously valuable.

There’s also certainly this standard where it's thought that developers should be coming up with concepts but the truth is that anybody can come up with concepts. Knowing exactly when to execute on an idea, what's the right move, how to go about it, and how much time... that's where things get tricky. So once you know the concept, as developers our job is to execute it as best as we can. And then the publisher’s job is to publish it as best as they can. So, we have our own set, because that can be a shared effort.

Q. Were there any big lessons learnt during the development of Real Drive 3D that you can share?

For us it boiled down to level design, and then after that it boiled down to different vehicles on the same levels. When we made a track we had to make sure it would allow a convoy truck to manoeuvre, as well as a car. So that was something that we had to keep in mind.

And then as far as speed of execution goes, you know we did do a fairly good job on this. We didn't develop it too fast and we didn't go too slow. We worked at an optimal pace.

Q. How important is it to create and release a concept that is currently trending vs. releasing a concept that might be really unique to the market at the time?

There is always an anomaly. You always have an anomaly in the market where somebody will come up with a game which is completely different from what everybody else is doing and it can sometimes become a massive success depending on what kind of game it is.

But I think it’s really important to follow trends and go with the flow, because not everybody is interested in a certain theme at a certain point in time. 

We really need to keep in mind what people want, rather than just a good game idea. So the timing for a certain concept does play a big part in how successful the game is going to be. 

Q. In your opinion, are there any key trends that you think will be emerging in 2021?

Well I think what I see happening right now is that hyper casual games are becoming a little more complex. I feel that 2019 was the biggest year for hyper-casual games, where they were at their peak and once something reaches this peak, then it's going to go down from that point on. 

I don’t believe that hyper-casual games will necessarily die off, they're not going to become extinct. Rather, they will simply transform into something else. So this entire industry might become a hybrid between hyper casual games and more casual games. We might see more meta in games where they may feature more than one mechanic. This is obviously my own opinion, but I could be completely wrong… let’s see!

We’ll leave you with those final words from Mubeen. If your studio is looking to jumpstart your ideation process or publish a top chart hit like Arcadian Lab, reach out to use at partnerships@codaplatform.com to learn more or apply directly to join Coda’s Partner Program!


Glossary: Hyper-casual from A-Z

If you’re new to mobile game development, you’ll know that there are a number of mobile gaming terms and abbreviations that are thrown around in conversation. From CPI to waterfalls (not the literal kind), it’s important for you to understand these terms and how they relate to the publishing of your game.

Whether you’re a seasoned studio or testing the waters of hyper-casual, take a look at the most frequently used terms and abbreviations in hyper-casual that people are using right now. You can even search by letter below!

Ad Whales

People who watch a lot of ads within an app and usually generate a big percentage of the revenue compared to regular users.

Ad Networks

Platforms used for selling and buying advertising like Google, Facebook, Ironsource, Mintegral, Unity etc.

ARPU: Average Revenue Per User

ARPU is calculated by dividing the total revenue divided by the total amount of users.

ARPDAU: Average Revenue per Daily Active User

ARPDAU is similar to the above, but the revenue generated by daily active users.


App Store Optimization is the process of increasing an app or game’s visibility in an app store, with the objective of increasing organic app downloads. 


A data management platform is a software platform used for collecting and managing data. They allow businesses to identify audience segments, which can be used to target specific users and contexts in online advertising campaigns.


A demand-side platform, often abbreviated to DSP, is a programmatic advertising platform that allows advertisers and media buying agencies to bid automatically on display, video, mobile and search ad inventory from a wide range of publishers.

eCPM: Effective Cost per mille

This is the cost paid per 1000 impressions.

Fill Rate

Fill Rate is the percentage of how many of your ad requests have received an ad impression.

IAP: In-app purchases

In-app purchases are real monetary purchases made by users within an app and generally appear as in-game currency, skins, level-ups etc.

IDFA: Identifier for Advertising

The Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) is a random device identifier assigned by Apple to a user's device. Advertisers use this to track data so they can deliver customized advertising.


Interstitial [Ads] are full-screen ads that cover the interface of their host app.

In App Bidding

This is a term monetization folks use for representing "header bidding" but for apps since header bidding is actually sourced from the web, done via JS. In-app bidding is basically client-side real-time bidding that allows all demand partners to bid on the same request at the same time and the winner is defined on the client-side.


Install Per Mille, # of installs per 1000 impressions


Impressions per Daily Active User - Total Impressions / DAU.

Manual Waterfall

A bidding system where price levels are manually assigned to networks for an auction, going from highest eCPM to lowest until there is a fill.

Mediation Platform

A platform where apps sell their inventory to other networks all together rather than one by one. Ex: Mopub.


Return On Investment - (Revenue - Cost) / Cost.

Rewarded Video

Typically an opt-in video ad that when watched by a user, will result in a reward of some kind within the game (extra life, retry, skin, coins etc).


A supply-side platform or sell-side platform is a technology platform to enable web publishers and digital out-of-home media owners to manage their advertising inventory, fill it with ads, and receive revenue.

Show Rate

Percentage of ad requests that become an impression (requests that are filled but aren't shown/seen do not become impressions).


Return On Investment - (Revenue - Cost) / Cost.

Rewarded Video

Typically an opt-in video ad that when watched by a user, will result in a reward of some kind within the game (extra life, retry, skin, coins etc).


5 Ways to Supercharge your Ideation

In hyper-casual gaming, coming up with the next hit game idea can be one of the most challenging parts of game development. Choosing the right game idea is crucial to avoid losing time and money spent building an unsuccessful game. So what exactly is the best method for game ideation in hyper-casual and how can you start implementing it today?

Luckily, we sat down with our gaming experts here at Coda to understand the best methods developers can utilise in the initial ideation phase to help increase their chances of success in publishing.

1. Monitor Trends

One misconception when it comes to game ideation in hyper-casual is that your game idea needs to be entirely brand new. This is not to say that your game idea shouldn’t be unique or that it has to be a copy of an existing game, rather you don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to the mechanics and themes of your game concept.

Work smarter and not harder by brainstorming concepts around current trending mechanics or themes that are performing well in the market already. As a starting point, we recommend monitoring the current landscape of hyper-casual games and learning to identify the core mechanics and themes that exist. Some questions to ask include:

  • What hyper-casual games are currently trending in the top charts?
  • What game mechanics do they feature that are the most entertaining?
  • Are there any patterns emerging in the artwork, mechanics, themes?
  • What topics are currently trending on social media or in gaming right now?

After you’ve thought about these questions, continue your research on external platforms such as Youtube, Game Industry Blogs, App Annie and Coda Platform to pinpoint some key themes and ideas that are trending and start brainstorming new concepts based on these trends.

2. Rapid Testing

The next method in which you can use to help guide and optimise your ideation process is through rapid market testing. Once you’ve brainstormed your ideas based on your market research, it’s imperative that you work fast to produce a basic prototype (3-4 levels) for a CPI test. 

The reason why it’s called rapid testing, is because it should ideally take you less than a week to come up with this basic prototype. Trends can change quickly in hyper-casual, which is why it’s imperative that you look to test your idea as soon as possible. Furthermore, the sooner you test your idea, the sooner you will know whether to scrap your prototype or carry on. We talk more about making this decision in our previous article here!

3. Document your Progress

We cannot stress enough the importance of documenting your ideation process and making note of the results of your prototype builds. Just because your current game idea doesn’t take off right now, doesn’t mean that it won’t appear later as a trending theme, so keep note of it!

Whether your working solo or in a team, we recommend keeping a record of how your CPI test have performed as well as your initial ideas through programs such as Miro,  document or collaboration platforms that help unify and simiply your work processesboards such as Miro, Trello and Google Docs.

4. Game Jams

Another way in which you can help to improve your ideation process is through the participation of Game Jams. Online Game Jams such as those facilitated by itch.io allow you to participate in game jams built on varying themes. While not necessarily directly related to hyper-casual, they encourage you to think outside the box and may inspire you to think of a new concept in a different light.

5. Publisher Programs

Finally, there are ways in which you can bypass the initial groundwork of researching new game ideas by going directly to the source. Many publishers in hyper-casual nowadays are looking to streamline the publishing process by offering new opportunities to collaborate directly with developers. 

This type of collaboration can be delivered in different forms, whether it’s an exclusive collaboration or via a program inviting numerous studios (you can discover more about Coda’s Partner Program here).


Top Game Developer Conferences Worth Attending in 2021

As a developer, it's extremely important to stay up to date with current industry trends. More importantly, it's important to ensure that you're expanding and nurturing your network of publishing contacts in the industry.

Conferences and events are a fantastic way for you to achieve both as a developer. Unfortunately COVID-19 has seen just about every in-person event cancelled or postponed. Thankfully many gaming conferences have been quick to adjust, by offering their events virtually instead.

But with so many conferences now on offer digitally, which are the right ones to attend as a mobile game developer? Luckily we've done the hard work for you in preparing a list of the Top Game Developer conferences worth attending this year in 2021.

Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #5

8th - 12th February 2021

Pocket Gamer has had great success over the years in hosting their PG Connects conference. Previously hosted in numerous cities in and around Europe, the event has recently moved across to digital platforms in light of the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. 

The upcoming PG Connects Digital is their fifth digital event and is promised to deliver the same energy, events and networking opportunities that developers would normally get in their in-person conference.

With the opportunity to connect with over 1300+ attendees virtually over the four days, it's a fantastic opportunity for developers looking to grow their network in the mobile gaming industry. 

White Nights Conference

8th - 12th February 2021

White Nights Conference is one of the leading game conferences in Europe with over 4,500 attendees offline and over 20,000 participants online per year. 

The conference itself hosts a number of events across Europe in London, Berlin, Barcelona and Dublin. Specifically for those attending, you can talk directly to any conference attendee with the help of the WN Hub, their game industry communication platform.

London Games Festival

19th March 2021

Attracting 100,000+ attendees, London Games Festival returns in 2021 with a hybrid event on offer for gaming professionals.

Featuring a brand new showcase of new games, some of which will be playable at home for free, broadcasts and streams from iconic London locations and a must-attend business track.

Keep your eyes peeled as a small selection of outdoor elements are also scheduled in London, with more information available early in 2021. 

GI Live: Online

14th - 16th April 2021

From the team at Game Industry Biz comes the new indie developer online conference, GI Live: Online. The online event is designed to help developers connect with Publishers, PR experts, Marketing experts and more over their three-day event.

Using a dedicated Discord server and the MeetToMatch meeting system, the online event will deliver advanced 1-2-1 meeting functions, as well as top tier speakers on all matters of game development, special roundtables and advice sessions.

Nordic Game Conference

26th - 28th May 2021

After two successful digital events last year during the height of the pandemic, Nordic Game Conference returns again this May for another digital event.

Scheduled to deliver the best speakers from the global industry, access to countless games industry professionals via MeetToMatch with video conferencing and a host of networking and social events on the Nordic Game Discord channel.

Game Developers Conference

19th - 23rd July 2021

This year the world-recognised Game Developer Conference, or GDC as it's known, will be returning to San Francisco. What if you can't physically make it there? Not to worry as the event is set to be a hybrid event, accessible both digitally and in-person.

GDC will be delivering five days of expert-led education on key game development topics, as well as several special features throughout the week. Attendees have the opportunity to gain insight into the future of games, be inspired by new techniques, and discover creative new approaches. 

Get a sneak peek of the conference for free before July in GDC's Showcase from March 15 - 19.


25th - 29th August 2021

Gamescom is returning to Messe, Cologne for a hybrid - digital and in-person - conference after their successful digital event in 2020. With numerous demonstrations, speakers, E-sports tournaments and special events on offer, the conference offers developers the chance to discover the latest market trends and meet with key figures in gaming. 

Having attracted 1,100 exhibiting companies in their previous events, they expect to exceed this number in 2021!


Level-up with Coda’s Latest SDK Release 1.11.0

Coda’s latest SDK Release version 1.11.0 has officially arrived and is jam-packed with new features set to take your game to the next level. Featuring easy to integrate modules, our new features are designed to help optimise the retention and success of your game before launching to market.

Keep reading to discover the latest additions, from notification modules to in-game economics, and how they’ll help shave time off your overall development process.

1.Notifications Module

Notifications are an effective feature that can help to increase the retention of users in your game. The first new module of Coda’s new SDK release allows you to schedule notifications and gives you the ability to enable, disable and configure settings remotely without the need of extra code. Not only does this save valuable time for developers, but it’s also a great tool proven to help increase the stickiness of users over time. 

Some of the capabilities in this module include:

  • Delayed Notification Future: Schedule a notification after x hours after the user left.
  • Local Time Notification Future: Schedule a notification at a consistent local time

2. Game Economic Module

Creating an in-game economy in hyper-casual can deliver another level of depth to your game and improve metrics like retention, user session time and exit rates significantly. However, setting up a shop front and establishing currency is time-consuming, which is why the game economic module is a welcome addition to Coda’s SDK .

The economics module in the new release is a stand-alone system that governs currency inside your game. The module features built-in rewarded placements, a complete UI shop system and includes proven calculations for currency rewards as users progress each level. In addition, it also includes out of the box level complete and level fail scenes. With an easy to use API and clear integration process, you’ll have your storefront up in no time!

a. Level Complete & Fail Screens

b. Shop Screen

Other features of the shop worth mentioning include the ability to earn currency, where players can earn a set amount of currency after watching rewarded video in the shop. To help prompt usage of the store, a notification badge can also become visible when there is enough currency to unlock a shop item or if a new item has been unlocked in the shop. Newly unlocked items will also have a ‘New’ badge displayed until previewed.

Add/Edit/Remove Items Through Unity’s Editor With Ease

Shop Editor is an editor tool to set up the items offered in your in-game store. You can set the preview assets and prefabs to be used in-game, and offer a clear API to easily access those items from anywhere in your code.

Coda’s latest SDK release is designed to take the hard work out of game development through easy to integrate modules. Notifications and in-game currency modules integrate with no code will save you valuable time in the lead up to launching, while remote configuration gives you the power to test and make changes without releasing. 

If you’d like to learn more about how to publish your next game with Coda, reach out to us at agent@codaplatform.com to learn more. 


2020 Wrap Up: Top Articles of the Year

2020 has been a year to remember for many, particularly in hyper-casual, from COVID-19 spurring unprecedented growth and Apple disrupting how we track users in advertising. At Coda, we continuously kept you up to date throughout the year on the latest industry news and best practices in hyper-casual.

Keep reading as we recap the Top 5 most popular Coda articles read by hyper-casual developers in 2020.

#1 - What iOS 14 will mean for Hyper-casual Gaming

The notorious data-privacy measures are set to disrupt the way in which advertisers track and target users. 

The new changes will pose challenges for hyper-casual gaming, particularly in Monetization and User Acquisition. So what changes can we expect to see and more importantly, what can mobile game developers do to prepare?

#2 - Masterclass #1: How to lower your CPI

When it comes to publishing a hyper-casual game, half the challenge can be meeting the benchmark requirements of publishers. 

In our first instalment of our new Masterclass series, we’ll explore how developers can lower their CPI through engaging game design and effective gameplay videos.

#3 - Navigating Mobile Game Publishing Contracts

One of the key aspects of a publishing contract is the condition of exclusiveness. So is exclusivity in mobile game publishing as negative as it seems or are there pros to an exclusive agreement between you and a publisher? 

We explore where exclusivity stands in the current hyper-casual environment and how to protect yourself when moving forward with a contract. 

#4 - 5 Common Mistakes that Hyper-casual Developers Make

Hyper-casual game development requires developers to be on top of trends and the latest gaming practices to remain competitive. However, many studios will often fall into the trap of making these five common mistakes in the development of their game...

#5 - 4 Habits of Successful Hyper-casual Developers

When it comes to developing a hit hyper-casual game, your chances for success are not entirely based on luck. In our latest article, we identify four key habits successful hyper-casual developers share and how you can employ them in your day-to-day development process.

Keen to discover more of our articles? Head over to our blog to see more and stay tuned for our 2021 coverage!


Coda Game Doctors: Episode 1

For many developers, creating a prototype that successfully passes a market test the first-time around can be challenging. Coda experts estimate that successful hyper-casual developers will often create 15 games for every 1 game they publish. This large ratio of prototypes to published games demonstrates just how many concepts often fall short of reaching those key publishing benchmarks.

In our latest series, Games Doctors, we’ll take a look at recent games tested by the Coda Games team and identify why certain prototypes didn’t pass marketability tests. We’ll go one further to identify areas of improvement, helping you to identify any parallel feedback that you can use in your own game.

Test Game #1: Classroom Battle

In Classroom Battle, players are given a number of different tasks to complete based on typical and entertaining school scenarios. Contrary to the latest version that shows multiple game mechanics, the first prototype submitted only featured one game mechanic.

Particularly in hyper-compact games and the way they’re monetised, it’s important for there to be at least 10 different mechanics for the game to be successful (we talk more about hyper-compact games here). After this initial feedback, the developer went back to add more mechanics, however, by this point a competitor had already released a similar game. It’s extremely important in these cases with publisher feedback to act as quickly as possible before a similar game is released!

Test Game #2: Light Maze 3D

In Light Maze 3D, players navigate a white ball through the shadows in a maze and must avoid being caught in the light. A rather unique concept for a hyper-casual game this initial prototype was a promising concept, however the difficulty in levels became its downfall.

The levels for the game were extremely hard, which we know is not the right approach in hyper-casual. Since the genre must accommodate for gamers of all skill levels, it's imperative that the difficulty in levels is easy to start. Furthermore, while the concept was unique, it was also quite abstract and lacked a real narrative behind the story. 

We then saw similar concepts released from competitors that were more successful as they had included such a narrative,  such as Hunter Assassin and Wobble Man.

Sometimes it can be difficult to understand why your prototype hasn't advanced past the first marketability test. More often than not, the devil is in the game design details, and communicating with your publisher can help you to better identify areas of improvement.

If you've got a prototype that wasn't successful and you'd like to receive feedback from our gaming experts, reach out to us at marketing@codaplatform.com for your chance to appear in our next Game Doctors episode. 

5 common mistakes feature

5 Common Mistakes that Hyper-casual Developers Make

The hyper-casual gaming industry is constantly evolving, requiring developers to be on top of trends and the latest gaming practices to remain competitive. Like honing any craft, it’s a constant work in progress and many studios often end up making common mistakes that can easily be avoided.

Thankfully at Coda, we’ve had extensive experience working with developers and studios of all sizes. From our experience, we’ve compiled a list of the top five common mistakes that hyper-casual developers make and how best to avoid them when creating your next game.

1. Getting the difficulty of levels wrong

Hyper-casual games are known for their simple nature and the ability for gamers of any level to play. One common mistake that developers can make when designing their level roadmap is getting the difficulty of levels wrong. Making early levels in the game too difficult will deter your main audience, while making them too easy will cause retention problems.

As a rule of thumb, the first level of your game should be close to impossible for the user to fail. In doing so they can immediately see within the first ten seconds how to succeed in the game and from there you can look to increase the difficulty and add obstacles as part of the onboarding process.

2. Confusing or missing onboarding

Generally, hyper-casual games are designed so that any user can pick up and understand how to play your game in less than 10 seconds. However, if your onboarding is confusing - or worse still non-existent in your game - then this can have extremely detrimental effects upon the overall user-experience of your game. 

When designing onboarding for your hyper-casual game, we recommend keeping it simple. Utilise symbols and game haptics rather than long or confusing text that will create localisation issues later down the track when publishing. 

3. Failing to test your prototype early on

Another common mistake that developers can make when creating their initial prototype is failing to test their game early on in the piece. Nowadays it’s very simple for a developer to set up a market test for a game with a brief gameplay video, even if the game itself is only half completed.

By creating an initial market test as soon as possible in the development of your prototype, you will be able to gain vital insight into the marketability of your game. In doing so, you will have more information to back your next decision on whether to iterate, test again or move onto a more likely to succeed concept.

4. Creating games using unpopular gaming mechanics

While it might seem tempting to be disruptive in the hyper-casual space and create a game based on a trending mechanic no one is using, your chances for success are significantly lower. When choosing your next concept idea, it’s imperative that you choose a game mechanic that reflects the current demand in the market. 

We recommend to work smarter, not harder, by analysing and identifying trending mechanics in the market before deciding your concept. Game tracking platforms like App Annie or even Coda Platform are great places to head to for free information on current charting games and trending mechanics (Check out our Market Intelligence Dashboard to see what’s trending right now). In doing so you’ll be able to identify where there is demand and create a game that is far more likely to reach success in comparison. 

5. Focusing on in-game features rather than core mechanic

Sometimes it's easy to get distracted by the bells and whistles of games design, but when it comes to hyper-casual, less is really more. Many developers will often waste precious time and focus in creating unnecessary in-game features that don't hold a lot of weight in affecting the overall success of your game.

These features may include a game economy, shop, UI and artwork that essentially won't have a direct impact on retention if the game concept itself is not marketable.

We recommend for developers to invest their time and focus into the core mechanic, where the controls, feeling of the overall gameplay is more important in terms of the success of your game.

Creating successful hyper-casual games requires studios to be aware of the common mistakes that can be made in every stage of development. When designing your next hyper-casual game, we recommend you carefully consider the design of your levels & onboarding, while being proactive in testing early and monitoring the demand for your game mechanic. 

To learn more about how Coda Platform can help you to create and publish your next hit hyper-casual game, create a free account today.