VCs hunt for platform opportunities in ‘hyper-casual’ gaming

There are billions of gamers on the planet, and even as gaming consoles and devices grow more powerful, there’s a good deal of investor attention being paid to so-called “hyper-casual” games that likely could have shipped on decades-old hardware.

Simplicity has never been something to take for granted in game design, but as design tools have gotten easier to use, a larger group of game creators has entered the fray. Many popular games have introduced “creator modes” to whet user appetites, but this has emerged alongside the introduction of dedicated tool that enable amateur developers to become miniature studios.

This past week, I chatted with David Lau-Kee, general partner at London Venture Partners, about opportunities in the game development industry for less-experienced game creators to build titles that find an audience. His firm closed an $80 million fund last September to invest in early-stage gaming startups.

“[Hyper-casual] is a very elegant trend in the demographics of getting games into the hands of people who weren’t traditional gamers who want very low on-boarding so they can get straight into the game,” Lau-Kee says. “The challenge with that for us is that, you know, as a developer in hyper-casual games, you can have a great business, but it might not be a VC-investable opportunity.”