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What Are Casual Games?

Casual games thrive on simple and fun gameplay mechanics that are easy to understand and master. Much like hypercasual games, these mobile games don’t typically require a high level of time investment or concentration, meaning gamers might return to the app at irregular and spontaneous occasions.
Key Takeaways
  • Women typically spend longer in casual games per day than men
  • Over 17 million users currently download this genre on mobile
  • Users over 40 years spend the longest time in these games per day

Who Are Casual Gamers?

Casual gamers engage with this mobile gaming vertical because it doesn’t require much concentration, allowing them to escape everyday boredom or stress. These games are popular to play while commuting, during lunch breaks, or watching TV. 

According to data, women are noticeably more engaged than men in casual games – they spend on average 22 minutes a day in gameplay. That’s roughly three minutes longer than the average male casual gamer. Looking at age, over-50s and 40s spend the most time in casual games per day at over 22 minutes.

 We’ve already mentioned that these games don’t require a high time investment from users. But if we deep-dive into recent demographics data, we can see that out of the most interesting mobile gaming regions worldwide, Africa is currently home to the players spending the longest average time in casual games per day – at 26 minutes.

a set of hands holding a phone showing the demographics for casual gamers: age, GEO, gameplay duration

What Types of Casual Games Are There?

These games are destined for the mass market, so they must be real crowd-pleasers. The casual game genre is made up of the following verticals.

  • Arcade (e.g. Subway Surfers)
  • Action
  • Card and board games
  • Word and trivia
  • Hidden object
  • Adventure
  • Education
  • Match-3
  • Puzzle (Candy Crush)

You may have noticed that more and more casual games are introducing meta elements to their core gameplay. This means that, as the gaming genre matures, elements from other mobile gaming verticals – such as collectibles or characters from midcore games – are finding their way into popular casual titles (and vice versa). This enables casual gamers to feel a greater sense of level-to-level progression and engagement.

How Do You Monetize Casual Gamers?

Word on the street is that the total revenue generated from casual games is set to grow at a CAGR of just under seven percent between now and 2026 – to 23.5 billion US dollars. Most revenue from this gaming genre is generated in the United States – followed by China, Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom. And with the average revenue per download for casual games projected to grow by roughly 15 percent between now and 2026, app developers will be really looking at how their apps can really capitalize on this growth. 

These games are relatively low-cost to produce, and they are typically free-to-play. This means they rely heavily on diverse and efficient monetization mechanisms, such as in-app purchases and in-app advertising. With the market saturation, it’s all about how each casual game studio can leverage all their revenue streams to come out on top among heavy competition.

In-App Purchases

Games in this genre typically focus on monetizing core gameplay by driving users to purchase boosters or extra lives to continue playing or reduce the difficulty of the level. Often, players are made to feel impatient with their progress in the game, which is why they are driven to purchase extras, which will accelerate their progression in the game.

In-App Advertising

In-app advertising revenue is quickly catching up with in-app purchases in terms of the share of revenue generated for casual games. 

The problem that many games in this genre face is regarding engagement and retention in their apps. These gamers play to destress but are found to abandon a game or become alienated if ads were too frequent or irritating. So, ad placement and the context of how ads appear during gameplay are absolutely critical for user engagement in this gaming vertical.

bar graph showing how casual games monetize with ads, IAPs and paid apps


From card and board games and match-3 to word and trivia games, there’s a whole host of hit casual games that draw global users in to play up to 30 minutes every day.

For casual game developers, the trick is also how to monetize these users and increase their engagement with the game. Whether that’s by incorporating more and more popular features from other gaming genres – such as multiplayer mode and competitive elements. Or trialing more in-app ad formats to boost engagement KPIs and keep players in the game for longer.


What Are Casual Games?

These games are easy to master, easy to start playing, and relaxing to play. Their core gameplay mechanics are simple but colorful and attractive to appeal to the mass market. Examples of casual games include puzzle games, trivia games, match-3 games, and board games.

Who Is a Casual Gamer?

Casual gamers play mobile games to relax and escape mundane reality with colorful and fun titles they can play easily on their commute or while watching TV. This is because casual games require little concentration.

If you deep-dive into the demographic, the most engaged players – that is, the players with the longest daily session times on average – are women. And especially women in their 40s and 50s.

How Do Casual Games Monetize?

These games, like most other gaming categories, diversify their monetization streams through in-app purchases and in-app advertising.

What Is the Difference between Casual and Hypercasual Games?

Compared with hypercasual games, casual games boast more complex gameplay mechanics – many of them now feature meta elements, such as collectibles or characters. But in general, both categories require little concentration and rely on their addictive core gameplay mechanics to keep users coming back and playing more.

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