One of the leading development studios in the casual gaming marketplace has launched its fifth live game this month. Brawl Stars, is a three-v-three multiplayer shooter, combining the best bits of Clash of Clans and Clash Royale to appease Supercell’s growing community of players. Brawl Stars has been in soft launch for around 18 months, during which the game itself experienced several subtle amendments to its design and gameplay.
The Finnish developer invited a select batch of online content creators, including app reviewers and casual gaming influencers, to its headquarters in Helsinki to celebrate the global launch of the app and meet Supercell’s developers behind its newest creation. It has been three years since Supercell last unveiled a new casual gaming app on Android. However, Supercell’s Brawl Stars community manager, Ryan Lighton insisted that the studio had “never prepared more for a game launch”.
The most popular game mode of Brawl Stars is likely to be ‘Gem Grab’, where players are tasked with collecting and retaining ten gems to win the battle. ‘Bounty’ is also being tipped to be a success, requiring three-player teams to gain the most stars by winning against their opponents. In the past, Supercell’s approach to casual gaming apps has been somewhat brutal, with a willingness to cull new releases if they did not believe they could be big successes in the casual gaming marketplace. The fact that they have gone big on Brawl Stars suggests they have real belief that it can disrupt the industry. Ilkka Paananen, CEO of Supercell, said that he hopes the game can become “the most community oriented/centric game we’ve ever put out”.
Hyper-casual gaming is one of the biggest developments in the mobile industry as a whole. According to Newzoo’s 2018 Global Games Market report, revenue generated by smartphone games this year will be up 29% year-on-year, hitting $56.4 billion. When you consider that video game console revenue is forecast to be $34.6 billion by the end of the year, it’s clear that casual gaming really is big business today.
The ease of accessibility of smartphone apps is bringing other gaming industries into the casual marketplace too. Historically, the thought of online poker players conjured images of people with five or six desktop monitors multi-tabling for a living. Now, the advent of mobile poker has made online poker a more casual gaming experience, with the ability to play for real money on Android and iOS smartphone and tablet devices.
There is a growing number of hyper-casual gaming publishers that are also bringing out simplistic titles, complete with single-tap interfaces. There is a feeling that these basic, yet intuitive casual games are infinitely replayable for casual gamers. The number-one publisher to watch out for in 2019 and beyond is Voodoo, whose games accounted for almost a quarter (24.7%) of all free casual game downloads as of June 2018.
Voodoo has even courted the attention of Goldman Sachs, who reportedly invested a whopping $200 million in the publisher. It’s therefore easy to see why casual gaming is such big money today and Brawl Stars is sure to be the next big money-spinner for Supercell.